Pedro “Pete” Benevides, 45, Astatula, Florida, was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Gregory J. Presnell to nine years in federal prison for his role in obtaining 20 fraudulent commercial and residential loans and lines of credit from several federally insured financial institutions totaling approximately $44,059,565.
In addition, Benevides was ordered to forfeit $44,059,565.00, including several bank accounts containing approximately $40 million in cash and two exotic sports cars: a 2008 Lamborghini Murcielago and a 2009 Audi R8. He will also be ordered to pay full restitution to the financial institutions that were the victims of his offense. The amount will be determined at a later hearing. Benevides pleaded guilty on July 14, 2014.
According to court documents, 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 $44,059,565. He obtained the fraudulent loans by providing the financial institutions with documents that, among other things, contained false information concerning his income and assets 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.
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Secret Service, and the St. Cloud IRS-USSS Federal Financial Crimes Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel C. Irick.