Florida business owner faces federal fraud charges

Last Friday the FBI announced criminal charges have been filed against a Florida businessman. The man has been accused of running a $40 million scheme involving a company that supposedly manufactured composite panels used to build homes in developing countries.

His federal indictment lists two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 16 counts of substantive wire fraud, one count of major fraud against the U.S., one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of making false statements to a U.S. government agency.

The man allegedly defrauded investors from 2007 to 2010. According to prosecutors he misled investors about the company's financial situation and pocketed their investments, using the money to fund a lifestyle that included vacation homes and expensive cars.

Last year the man faced a civil lawsuit filed by a Chicago Bulls player. The basketball player claimed that the businessman had squandered a $1 million investment in the company. This illustrates two ways in which federal fraud charges can affect those accused: in criminal proceedings and in civil claims that can be cumbersome and costly.

If you believe you may be a target of a federal investigation, don't wait to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Prosecutors will often spend a lot of time gathering evidence and building their case before filing charges and it is wise to be prepared. Consulting with an attorney early on can help you ensure that your rights in the criminal justice system are protected and that you are best positioned to defend your case.

Source: The Point Forward, "Florida businessman, sued by Bulls' Boozer for $1M, arrested for fraud," Dec. 7, 2012

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