J. Patrick Brester, 41, Sarasota, Florida, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution and three counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution.
Each count carries a maximum penalty of thirty years in federal prison and a $1million fine. Michael Chadwick, Matthew Landsman, and Joshua Unger previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy.
According to evidence presented at trial, Brester conspired with others to engage in fraudulent cash back to buyer mortgage transactions involving the 2007 purchase and sale of condominiums at Vintage Grand, a large condominium complex in Sarasota. Each fraudulent transaction involved Brester first purchasing the unit from the development company (Sarasota 432, LLC) and then simultaneously flipping it to Michael Chadwick.
To facilitate the scheme, Brester and his co-conspirators deceived mortgage lenders about the true nature of the transactions. They inflated the purchase prices of the properties, and ultimately the amount lent by the mortgage lenders. They did so by including fees that were falsely described as “management fees” that were made payable to shell corporations under their control. The “management fees” were actually the method by which Brester and his co-conspirators funneled cash back to themselves without the lenders’ knowledge.
In furtherance of the conspiracy, Brester and his co-conspirators caused interstate wire transfers of the loan proceeds from the victim mortgage lenders into bank accounts held in the names of shell companies, including IGS, Inc. and Landwick I, LLC. Evidence presented at trial showed that Brester made more than $550,000 from his role in the conspiracy. The loss to the mortgage lenders totaled more than $1.3 million.
United States Attorney Robert E. O’Neill announced the conviction.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda L. Riedel and Matthew J. Mueller.