A 36-year-old Tampa resident that appeared on Bravo television's The Millionaire Matchmaker in 2009 claiming he was worth $400 million and operated a company with business in 36 nations plead guilty Monday in federal court to bank fraud charges.
The man apparently confessed that he received a $3 million loan in the months before his television appearance by faking he had tens of millions of dollars squirreled in two banks.
The plea came in Monday afternoon and was a shock to lawyers working the case who had apparently spent the morning selecting a jury in a trial that was anticipated to last a week.
The man entered an open plea, which means he has no deal on a sentence arranged with prosecutors. The judge scheduled his sentencing for Aug. 9.
The man's court-appointed attorney claims the man feared losing at trial and decided against taking a risk.
The man will remain in custody until sentencing. His bail was revoked last year after prosecutors accused him of attempting to purchase two luxury vehicles while awaiting trial.
Prosecutors allege the man began pursuing the loan in 2008, telling the bank he needed the funds for his business, a company specializing in processing electronic payments on the Internet.
The man had two co-conspirators, prosecutors allege. One apparently worked at a bank and produced a fraudulent letter confirming the man had $21 million on deposit, which the man used as collateral on the $3 million loan.
Additional fraudulent documents were allegedly used to obtain the loan including bank statements and tax returns for 2006 and 2007. According to reports, the man did not file returns in those years.
The man apparently met with a bank official in the Caribbean regarding the loan in November2008. Another alleged co-conspirator impersonated a Caribbean bank representative claiming the man had $145 million on deposit there.
Also on Monday, one alleged co-conspirator pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges. He will also be sentenced in August.
A second alleged co-conspirator has apparently agreed to cooperate with authorities.
In the state of Florida, bank fraud is classified as a serious federal crime that can carry consequences of up to 30 years in state prison and fines up to $1,000,000. These cases are investigated by federal agencies that devote countless hours and resources to uncovering evidence of bank fraud and other financial crimes. In an effort to seek the maximum penalties, these same agencies will often employ federal prosecutors to try these cases in court.
Bank fraud may be committed in a number of ways. Some of these may include:
• Falsifying loan documents
• Making false statements
• Forging checks
• Loan Fraud
• Forging Letters of Credit
Regardless of the specific bank fraud charges you are facing, the Florida White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help. The federal laws related to bank fraud can be confusing. If you are suspected of bank fraud, do not waste any time seeking legal counsel. These charges are serious and can deliver life-altering consequences.
If you have any reason to believe you may be charged with bank fraud in the state of Florida, contact the Florida White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton online or reach our Tampa office at 813-221-3200 or reach us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).