Pedro “Pete” Benevides, 44, Astatula, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for his role in obtaining 20 commercial and residential loans based on false information and documents.
Benevides also agreed to pay full restitution to the financial institutions that were the victims of his offense. In addition, he agreed to forfeit $44,059,565, including several bank accounts holding approximately $40,000,000 in cash, and three exotic sports cars (i.e. a 2008 Lamborghini Murcielago; a 2009 Audi R8; and a 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo).
According to the plea agreement, from about 2005 through September 2008, Benevides obtained 20 commercial and residential loans and lines of credit from several federally insured financial institutions, totaling approximately $44,049,565. Benevides obtained the fraudulent loans by giving the financial institutions documents that, among other things, contained false information concerning the income and assets of Benevides or the business that he used to obtain the loans and lines of credit.
During that time, Benevides controlled several Central Florida businesses, including a private jet charter service, an exotic car rental service, and hotels in Orange County and Pinellas County, Florida. Those companies included Superior International Investment Corporation; ABC Auto Wholesalers, Inc.; Skyview Aviation, Inc.; Fidelity Investment Group LLC; PBJB Best Investment LLC; Divello Family LLC; and Leesburg Title and Escrow Company. Benevides then used the fraudulently-obtained funds for his own purposes, including paying the interest and principal on other, earlier loans that he had obtained in order to continue the fraudulent scheme, paying business expenses, paying the other co-conspirators involved in the scheme, and funding living expenses for himself and his family.
United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announced the guilty plea.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the United States Secret Service (USSS), and the St. Cloud IRS-USSS Federal Financial Crimes Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Daniel C. Irick and James Mandolfo.