Ronnie Singleton, 41, Lithonia, Georgia, a business owner who held himself out to be an investor and loan broker, admitted his role in defrauding real estate investors of more than $800,000.
The defendant pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiring to commit wire fraud.
According to the Indictment and statements made in court:
Singleton owned and operated a business called Wonder World Inc. and held himself out to be a financier. Using the Internet and telephone, he met his codefendant, Michael Woodruff, 66, Peeples Valley, Arizona, and the two agreed to work together to find investors.
Singleton falsely represented that he would providing financing for real estate deals through a “European system of financing” that involved leasing financial instruments. Singleton received more than $800,000 in investors’ funds, $360,000 of which he wired to Woodruff. Instead of obtaining the promised financing for the real estate projects, Singleton instead used the investors’ money for his own personal benefit.
The count to which Singleton pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross amount of any gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 30, 2014. The charges against Woodruff are pending.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced the guilty plea.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jenny Kramer of the Economic Crimes Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Charlton Rugg of the Criminal Division.