Christopher Wayne White Guilty of Mortgage Fraud

February 6, 2015

A Broward real estate broker was sentenced to 41 months in prison, three years’ supervised release and ordered to pay $4,029,892, in restitution to victims in three separate fraud cases.

Mortgage FraudChristopher Wayne White, 44, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pled guilty on November 21, 2014 in Case No. 14-60283-CR-Dimitrouleas to one count of wire fraud. According to documents filed with the court, White made numerous false statements to the mortgage lender in connection with the purchase of a luxury home on Sea Island Drive in Fort Lauderdale. According to court records, White inflated his bank account balances, income, deposit and assets to fraudulently induce the mortgage lender to issue a mortgage loan in excess of $4.9 million dollars. The property was subsequently foreclosed by the lender resulting in substantial losses.

In Case No. 14-60282-CR-Dimitrouleas, White pled guilty on November 21, 2014 to six counts of wire fraud. According to court documents, White was a licensed real estate broker and owner and operator of the Christopher White Group in Fort Lauderdale. White obtained multiple real estate deposits in excess of $750,000 via wire transfers involving properties in Broward County from individuals and refused to return the escrow deposits. Subsequently, the Secretary of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation ordered an emergency suspension of White’s real estate broker’s license.

In Case No. 14-60216-CR-Dimitrouleas, White pled guilty on November 21, 2014 to three counts of making material false statements to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. According to documents filed with the court, these statements were included on White’s April 16, 2014, application for naturalization submitted to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. White made the following material false statements in his naturalization application: (1) that he had never claimed to be a U.S. Citizen; (2) that he had never committed, assisted in committing or attempted to commit a crime or offense for which he was never arrested; and (3) that he had never failed to support his dependents.

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Tax Fraud Scheme earns Georgia man Prison Sentence

February 2, 2015

A Georgia man, Sirhon “Ron” Rivers, 40, was sentenced in federal court to eight years and six months in federal prison without parole for a wire fraud scheme in which he used the identity information of deceased persons to obtain more than $2.3 million in tax refunds from several states.  The court also ordered Rivers to pay $2,358,612 in restitution.

Tax FraudOn Sept. 14, 2014, Rivers pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Rivers admitted that he unlawfully obtained $547,000 from the Missouri Department of Revenue from January 2008 to August 2012 by filing fraudulent tax returns. Rivers used the same scheme in others states—including Kansas, Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Virginia—to unlawfully acquire a total of $2,365,617 in fraudulent state tax refunds.

Rivers obtained personal identification information—including names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth—from deceased persons. He submitted state tax returns using that information, adding false and fraudulent information such as employment and wages earned. State tax returns were submitted electronically, with the refunds electronically transferred to bank accounts that Rivers opened at several financial institutions.


IRS Tax Fraud – Dewayne Long faces Prison

February 1, 2015

Dewayne K. Long, 53, of Omaha, Nebraska, was sentenced for conspiracy to defraud the United States by filing false federal income tax returns for income tax refunds.  The Honorable Joseph Bataillon sentenced Long to one year and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and restitution in the amount of $440,924.00.

IRS-logoBeginning around December 1, 2008, through March 2010, Dewayne K. Long, and another individual conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service by filing false federal income tax returns which contained fraudulent claims for income tax refunds.  These claims were based upon false amounts of federal income tax withheld which were reported on false Forms 1099-0ID.  The Form 1099-OIDs (Original Issue Discount) improperly claimed that the clients had income and corresponding federal income taxes withheld, which resulted in a refund due from the IRS.  Long and his co-conspirator caused nine (9) false claims to be filed with the IRS, totaling $4,701,010.00.

“This defendant filed fraudulent tax returns with bogus claims in an attempt to steal from the U.S. Treasury and the taxpaying public,” said Tanya Brewer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation.


Jaime Sanchez sentenced to Prison for Mortgage Fraud – Choices and Consequences

January 31, 2015

An Individual was sentenced for his role in illegal mortgage fraud kick-back scheme, which resulted in his and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtaining $3,000,000 in 12 fraudulent mortgage loans at Marina Oaks Condominiums.

mortgagefraudJaime Sanchez, 43, was sentenced to 168 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. On October 29, 2014, Sanchez pled guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud affecting a financial institution. Sanchez had been previously charged in connection with fraudulently obtaining mortgages for the purchase of 12 condominium units at Marina Oaks Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

According to the indictment from January 2007 through September 2008, in the Southern District of Florida and elsewhere, Sanchez and others conspired to recruit individuals who would be willing to purchase condominium units at Marina Oaks Condominiums. These buyers were promised a “buyer’s incentive” which in actuality was an indirect payment or “kick-back” to the buyers not disclosed to the lenders or reflected on any of the closing documents. Sanchez and others would then prepare materially false and fraudulent mortgage applications for the buyers on the Uniform Loan Application Form 1003 which contained false and fraudulent information as to material facts about the borrower’s credit worthiness in order to obtain mortgage money from lenders to fund the purchase of the Marina Oaks Condominiums. The conspirators would create false and fraudulent documents to support the mortgage applications. Once the loans closed, the conspirators would fraudulently and unlawfully divert portions of the mortgage proceeds for their own personal use and benefit.


Four Charged in Grant Funding Scam

January 30, 2015

Four persons have been charged with conspiracy and fraud for obtaining money from small business owners for grant funding and services that they never provided or intended to provide, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of FraudNevada and Laura A. Bucheit, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI for Nevada.

Jason Demko, 38, Lorraine Riddiough, 66, Lissette Alvarez, 27, all of Las Vegas, and Mark Jones, 32, of Barberton, Ohio, are charged in a criminal indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and criminal forfeiture. Riddiough, Alvarez, and Jones were arrested in Las Vegas.

“Unfortunately, advance fee fraud schemes are very common,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “The con artist will ask for money up front before any tangible service or product is provided, and it will be very difficult to get your money back once you have turned it over to the scammers.”

“”These arrests emphasize the FBI’s continued commitment to investigate financial crimes,” said Special Agent in Charge Bucheit. “It also serves as a reminder for consumers to protect themselves, and remember if it seems too good to be true, it almost always is.”

According to the indictment and other court records, from about January 2013 to February 2014, the defendants allegedly made false and fraudulent representations and promises to small business owners to persuade and induce them to pay initial fees, usually between $2,500 and $5,000 for goods and services they thought would help them obtain grants for their businesses. The business owners were told that the total cost for obtaining a grant was between $10,000 and $15,000, depending on the total amount of funding requested, and that the remaining fees would not be charged until the owners received 100 percent of the grant funding. Among other things, the defendants falsely stated that they represented a company named Foundation Processing Center in Wilmington, Del., when in fact, they represented JCD Business Services in Las Vegas; falsely stated that only certain clients had qualified for grants, when in fact anyone who paid the fees were qualified by the defendants; and stated that they had obtained grants for other clients, when in fact they had not done so. The defendants also re-solicited clients for additional fees, including business plans, when they knew that the plans were not going to assist the clients in obtaining any grants. The defendants knew that the true purpose of their solicitations was to obtain funds to personally enrich themselves.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on all counts.


Lawrence B. Iken pleads guilty to Health Care Fraud Sentencing set for April 2015

January 29, 2015

Lawrence B. Iken, DPM, and his company each pled guilty to charges involving the submission of false documents and reimbursement claims related to podiatric services purportedly provided by Dr. Iken, from 2006 through July 2014. As part of his Health Care Fraudplea, Dr. Iken has agreed to a money judgment of $999,170, which represents the amount of reimbursement that he and his company received for the health care claims.

According to court documents, Dr. Iken and his company, Lawrence B. Iken, DPM, LLC., have offices in Manchester and Creve Coeur, MO. Dr. Iken is a sole practitioner who provided podiatry services to patients at his Manchester and at his Creve Coeur offices and at various nursing homes in the St. Louis area. In addition to his office practice, Dr. Iken is an independent contractor for Preferred Podiatry Group, Inc. (PPG). According to its website, PPG provides podiatric care to residents in nursing homes and other long term care facilities in Missouri and five other states. As a PPG contractor, Dr. Iken provided services to nursing home residents on Wednesdays and Thursdays. With his plea, Dr. Iken admitted that on thousands of occasions, he billed Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies for the incision and drainage of abscesses and hematomas when he actually only clipped the toenails of the patients.

Iken, 65, of Chesterfield, and his company each pled guilty to one felony count of healthcare fraud before United States District Judge Ronald L. White. Sentencing has been set for April 17, 2015.


Investment Fraud – Christopher Anzalone pleads Guilty faces Prison

January 23, 2015

California resident pled guilty today to his leading of a commodities and investment fraud scheme that yielded an aggregate amount of over $16 million in investments from victims for the purported purchase of precious metal positions and over-the-counter stock.

Commodities FraudAccording to the charging and plea documents:

From 2010 to December 2011, Liberty International Financial Services, Inc. (LIFS) was an investment firm in Fort Lauderdale with brokers who solicited investors for the purchase of purported precious metals positions in gold, silver, and palladium. Christopher Anzalone, 31, was a co-founder of LIFS and was responsible for overseeing LIFS brokers. Contrary to representations made to investors by LIFS brokers, LIFS invested less than $200,000 of the approximately $4 million provided by investors for the purchase of precious metals positions.

From mid-2011 through 2013, Liberty International Holding Corporation (LIHC) was a holding corporation in Fort Lauderdale whose stock traded in the over-the-counter market. LIHC brokers solicited investors for the purchase of LIHC stock. Anzalone was the co-founder of LIHC. Anzalone represented to brokers, and had brokers represent to potential investors, that LIHC had substantial assets, including a substantial position in metals held in a Panamanian depository. In truth and in fact, as Anzalone well knew, LIHC did not hold these positons or any assets of real value. Induced by misrepresentations made by LIHC brokers, investors purchased more than $9 million in LIHC shares.

From October 2012 through October 2013, Allied Financial Strategies, Inc. (Allied) was an investment firm operating in Miami. Allied brokers solicited investors primarily for the purchase of LIHC stock. Anzalone and co-conspirators induced investors to purchase LIHC shares by falsely and fraudulently representing to investors that a hedge fund or other large investment funds intended to purchase a substantial block of LIHC shares at an over-inflated price compared to the LIHC market price of those same shares. Anzalone used co-conspirators to falsely and fraudulently pose as other investors or hedge fund representatives to induce prospective investors to invest monies. Based on these false representations by these co-conspirators, investors wired over $3 million to accounts controlled by the co-conspirators.