Articles Posted in Wire Fraud

A Boca Raton woman was sentenced to four years and three months in prison for submitting fraudulent student loan applications online.

According to investigators, the 31-year-old tricked nursing students at the Coral Ridge Training School into giving out their personal information, which she then used to sign up for loans without their consent.

At the time, the woman was an employee at the school, officials said.

Many students found out about the unauthorized loans when they started receiving letters from the loan servicing companies.

Wire Fraud is a very serious criminal offense under federal law. A conviction usually results in stiff fines and lengthy time behind bars. There are 2 major factors that outline if wire fraud was committed:

  • The accused willfully intended to devise a scheme or means to defraud another person of money or property with the intent to defraud.
  • The accused committed the scheme through the use of interstate wire facilities, such as telephone, television, email or the Internet.

If you are being investigated for or have been arrested for wire fraud it is vital to the outcome of your case to obtain legal help right away. These types of crimes are usually investigated over a solid period of time by police as they build their case. It is not uncommon for police to reach out to those suspected of committing wire fraud to try and gather more evidence against the accused. If you are under investigation for wire fraud or have already been charged, let our South Florida Wire Fraud Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton help you with your defense. We will make sure your rights are protected.

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A former Democratic state lawmaker is facing a federal indictment for allegedly using campaign funds to cover personal expenses.

It was announced earlier this month that former state Rep. Dwayne Taylor, 49, of Daytona Beach has been charged with nine counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme to funnel money from his campaign to personal funds.

Taylor could face a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the nine counts.

Prosecutors are also seeking $62,834, “representing the amount of proceeds obtained as a result of the offense,” though the amounts withdrawn from the campaign in the nine counts listed in the indictment totaled $2,440.

According to the indictment, Taylor “would withdraw cash from the Dwayne L. Taylor Campaign Accounts at automated teller machines (ATMs) … and, within minutes or hours, deposit the same or a similar amount of cash into one of TAYLOR’s personal accounts.”

Taylor used at least one check for similar reasons, the indictment said.

Taylor is accused of using the funds for personal expenses and then filing fake or inflated campaign expense reports to cover his alleged misuse of the money.

Under Florida law, campaign money may not be used to defray normal living expenses, other than for transportation, meals, and lodging that is campaign-related.

Taylor served as his campaign’s treasurer in 2012 and 2014, when he was seeking re-election to the House, according to reports, which deals with funds from those two campaigns.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

There are many different aspects of wire fraud charges, so it is best to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that a strong case can be built on your behalf. It is up to prosecutors to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you committed every element of the criminal act of wire fraud. If they cannot prove this, then they cannot achieve a conviction. This is why it is imperative for your defense lawyer to highlight any flaws or weaknesses in the case.

The elements of wire fraud generally consist of using mail or electronic communications in furtherance of defrauding, deceiving or cheating someone out of honest services.

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Thirteen people, mostly from South Florida, are facing federal charges of mail fraud and conspiracy for allegedly defrauding approximately $23 million from investors — mostly seniors — around the nation.

According to investigators, two linked telemarketing frauds, based in Miami Lakes and Marina Del Rey, Calif., touted stocks for Sanomedics Inc. and Fun Cool Free stocks between 2009 and 2015.

The telemarketers claimed to be selling profitable shares in companies that provided thermometers for humans and dogs and games for smartphones, according to authorities.

Five of the 13 arrested were also charged with wire fraud.

Due to the increase in telephone scams over the past few years, the federal government along with state authorities have been cracking down on any suspected telemarketing fraud schemes. If you or your company is under investigation for fraud or you are facing criminal charges, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

Telemarketing fraud can involve many actions or schemes, such as:

  • Convincing someone to pay a fee to obtain a credit card or to restore credit – also known as advanced fee scams.
  • Telling a person you will enter their name into a lottery for a prize to obtain the person’s personal information for fraudulent purposes.
  • Bullying or pressuring the person to act quickly and send a payment.
  • Promising a product or service and never following through.
  • Promising the person will make a lot of money working from home and other get-rich-quick schemes – also known as a pyramid scheme.
  • Selling fake timeshares.
  • Tricking a person into making a wire transfer.

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The Palm Beach Post is reporting that North Miami Mayor, Lucie Tondreau, has been charged with mortgage fraud and wire fraud.

North Miami Beach mayor, Lucie Tondreau

North Miami mayor, Lucie Tondreau

The federal indictment that was unsealed yesterday, alleges that Tondreau used a radio show to recruit straw buyers, who were used to defraud lenders in buying 20 properties. It is estimated that the fraud scheme involved over $8 million of funds. According to Federal Prosecutors, the crimes took place before Tondreau was elected mayor, in June 2013. Lately, the Miami Dade County Fraud Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have noticed a trend of the Department of Justice using wire fraud charges in conjunction with the prosecution of RICO, money laundering and mortgage fraud because wire fraud is the easiest crime for an AUSA to prosecute. Many times, the sentencing range for a conviction for wire fraud will exceed the sentence available these other offenses. Having a seasoned white collar crime attorney representing your interest in paramount—even you are just being investigated for a crime. The wire fraud attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you navigate this confusing process and many times, can even prevent charges from being filed. CALL US TODAY: LOCAL (561) 367-8777 OR STATEWIDE, TOLL FREE: (866) 608-5529.

Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein told federal prosecutors in 2011 that fellow attorney Douglas Bates “was in his pocket.”

Now, the Sun Sentinel is reporting that Bates is the latest South Florida figure to be convicted in connection with Rothstein’s $1.4 billion fraud scheme— a scheme that was exposed in October 2009. Since that date, fourteen other people have gone to federal prison because they committed crimes linked to the Ponzi scheme. Rothstein is serving a 50-year term.

Attorney Bates pleaded guilty in federal court in West Palm Beach to one count of wire fraud in connection with the largest financial fraud case in South Florida history. He faces up to five years in prison and significant fines when he is scheduled to be sentenced on May 1st.

Last week, a South Florida federal jury convicted  a man and a woman of conspiracy, bank fraud and wire fraud charges. They will be sentenced mid-April.

The trial revealed an elaborate housing fraud scheme that was centered around a vacant coin laundry.

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The Ledger is reporting that trial testimony showed the pair used the empty coin laundry address to establish a “legitimate” front for variety of fake companies. Evidence showed that the duo falsified documents to obtain bank loans to invest in low-income neighborhoods. Then they enrolled the properties in U.S. Housing and Urban Development low-income programs to receive money from government vouchers.

The Feds are alleging that as early as 1998, there were red flags with the JPMorgan “703 account”, an account that Bernie Madoff banked through. And, in 2008, the bank’s London desk circulated a memo describing JPMorgan’s inability to validate his trading activity or custody of assets and concerns over his “odd choice” of a one-man accounting firm, the government said.

Bank records show that funds were being transferred back and forth from the 703 account for no reason. Madoff was recording double-digit returns on investments that were “too good to be true.” The bank itself was worried enough about possible fraud to withdraw about $300 million of its own money from Madoff feeder funds, three months before the Madoff Ponzi scheme was exposed by authorities.

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When Madoff finally revealed to the FBI that his investment advisory business was a Ponzi scheme in December 2008, fictitious account statements for thousands of clients showed $60 billion in assets. Of the roughly $17.5 billion in principal that was real, most of it was gone.

For keeping quiet about its suspicions, on Tuesday, JPMorgan agreed to forfeit $1.7 billion to settle criminal charges alleging it turned a blind eye to the Madoff bank fraud, plus it will pay an additional $543 million to settle civil claims by victims. The bank will also will pay a $350 million civil penalty for what the Treasury Department called “critical and widespread deficiencies” in its programs to prevent money laundering and other suspicious activity.

According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara:

“Despite all these alarm bells, JPMorgan never closed or even seriously questioned Madoff’s Ponzi-enabling 703 account …On the other hand, when it came to its own money, JPMorgan knew how to connect the dots and take action to protect itself against risk.”

In a statement, JPMorgan said it recognized it “could have done a better job pulling together various pieces of information and concerns about Madoff from different parts of the bank over time.”

The settlement includes a so-called two year “deferred prosecution agreement” that requires the bank to acknowledge failures in its protections against money laundering and to pay the $1.7 billion into a fund established for victims of Madoff’s fraud, in exchange for avoiding criminal charges. (No individual executives were accused of wrongdoing.) It also resolves two felony violations of the Bank Secrecy Act in connection with the bank’s relationship with Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities–the private investment arm of Madoff’s former business.

It is believed by prosecutors that the $1.7 billion forfeiture is the largest in history by a U.S. bank and the largest Department of Justice penalty for a Bank Secrecy Act violation.

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