Darryl Burke, 50, and Vicki Garland, 50, both of Delray Beach, Florida, were convicted by a federal jury of bank fraud and wire fraud conspiracy, after a two and half week trial before U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn.
Burke was also convicted of four substantive counts of bank fraud, and Garland was convicted of three substantive counts of bank fraud.
Evidence at trial established that Burke and Garland created fictitious companies, including Next Level Development, and used an abandoned coin laundry in Delray Beach, to create an empire of fraudulently obtained investment properties. The abandoned coin laundry had a mailbox that served as the official address for the defendants, various fake companies, and other conspirators and fictitious individuals.
Trial evidence established that Burke and Garland used fake documents, including false wage and tax documents, and false claims of employment and income, to obtain bank loans for investment properties in low-income neighborhoods. Garland was held out as the “President” of Next Level, and would sell properties to Burke, using his alias, “David Middleton.” The defendants would then enroll the properties in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Section 8 voucher program, and obtain proceeds from HUD and from low-income tenants.
The defendants then used false claims of status for Burke and also for the fake name, “David Middleton,” as total and permanent disabled veterans to avoid property taxes on various fraudulently obtained properties. Burke and his fake alias were neither veterans nor disabled. Trial evidence established that the loans and rental proceeds totaled millions of dollars.
Defendants used the proceeds of the fraud to acquire a multi-residence waterfront compound in Delray Beach, as well as Bentley, Mercedes and Range Rover automobiles, luxury goods, and courtside season tickets for the Miami Heat, and to obtain large amounts of cash. Evidence further showed that Burke was convicted in 1997 in the Southern District of Florida of federal bank fraud charges, in relation to conduct that spanned the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Sentencing of Burke and Garland is set for April 18, 2014 before Judge Cohn.
Previously, four defendants were convicted in connection with the scheme to defraud multiple lenders. Three title agents, Osvaldo Sanchez, 38, Rafael Amador, 32, both of Miami, Florida, and Devon Fraser, 31, Sunrise, Florida, and real estate investor Chiquita Alexis, 46, Boca Raton, Florida, all pled guilty before to the same conspiracy involving Burke and Garland. Sanchez and Amador were each sentenced to 24 months in prison on November 5, 2013. Fraser and Alexis are scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro on February 19, 2014.
Wifredo Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Miami Field Office, announced the jury’s verdict.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Secret Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerrob Duffy.