2021’s Most Outrageous White Collar Crimes…So Far

January 2021: The Case of Motorized Surfboard Scam

This past January, a Florida man was sentenced to six years in prison for scamming investors out of $400,000, the latter of whom believed their investments were going toward the production and distribution of motorized surfboards. 

The convicted man created a company he called KRM Services and told investors — all of whom were typically small investors he largely met through social interactions at restaurants and bars — that their money would go toward a product he called “Jetboards.”

The man falsified documentation to appear he was associated with sporting goods businesses, cruise lines, buyers, and patent offices to defraud investors, using their money to live a lavish lifestyle. Between 2016 and 2019, he stole $400,000, and caused many of his 14 victims extreme financial hardship. 

February 2021: The Case of the Romance Scam

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Federal authorities arrested a Ghanaian National for a variety of charges, including money laundering, lying to a bank, and wire fraud. 

Over a four year period, the man used falsified documents in order to open a series of bank accounts in the Boston area. In conjunction with the creation of these bank accounts, the man (and potentially numerous others) created a series of personas on a variety of online platforms in order to catfish (i.e., create a false identity with the intention of deceit or luring someone into compromising situations) so that they could receive cash, property, and other gifts from the unsuspecting victims. 

After the man and his associates moved funds into the falsified accounts, they would remove the money or transfer the ill-gotten funds into cashier’s checks and then spend the money on themselves. Over the course of their four-year scam, the man stole $1.7 million dollars from his victims. 

Across the series of charges, the man is facing fines upwards of a million dollars and potentially decades in prison. According to FBI officials and per federal law, “Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.”

March 2021: The Case of the Wu-Tang Scam

If Wu-Tang is for the children, then this convicted criminal was clearly only in it for himself. This past March, a Florida man was sentenced to seven years in prison and was ordered to pay back about $300,000 to various businesses he defrauded over the course of several months. 

The man and his associate, the latter of whom is still awaiting sentencing, also falsely portrayed themselves as affiliated representatives of Roc Nation, the entertainment, management, and production company founded by rapper, mogul, and husband of Beyoncé Knowles, Jay-Z.

His specific crime? Falsely associating himself with Hip-Hop legends Wu-Tang clan and using stolen and fraudulent credit cards in order to make use of services associated with production studios, hotels, and limousine and catering companies. 

Investigators believe that businesses in numerous Southeastern cities in the U.S were victimized by this scam, and home some can be recouped by the court’s orders.

After serving his prison sentence, the man will face three years of supervised release. According to federal law, there is no parole associated with federal crimes.

April 2021: The Case of the Not So Real Estate

Earlier this year in southern California, two siblings were arrested for coordinating a real estate scheme that defrauded victims out of $6 million dollars. 

The brother and sister were found to have used other people’s brokers licenses, as well as created fraudulent real estate and escrow companies in order to list homes that they either did not have the authority to represent, or in some cases, were not even for sale. 

Through their deceitful efforts, the two assailants collected money from victims who thought their funds were going toward down payments. These situations would go on sometimes for years, with the victims believing the sales were being delayed due to lenders. 

Authorities also found that the accused directed their own workers to open bank accounts in their own names so that they could use those accounts to place and ultimately withdraw cash from investors. 

Should the duo be convicted, they face a potential 162 years in prison. 

May 2021: The Case of the Fraudulent Fidos

In may of this year, two residents of Malvern, AR were charged with selling what buyers believed to be purebred puppies. The dogs in question, which were advertised as being Toy Poodles, French Bulldogs, and Boxers, among others, didn’t turn out to be non-purebred registered puppies — it turned out that they didn’t exist at all!

Allegations against the Arkansas women presume that over a two-year period between 2018 and 2020, they collected advances that ranged from $500 to $5,000 from buyers from numerous states via wire transfers. The costs, investigators are learning, were intended to not only cover the fee for the dogs themselves, but also for flights to deliver the puppies, handling fees, pet insurance, and extra costs that were claimed to have been associated with COVID-19-related precautions. 

All in all, the allegations state that the accused received over $110,000 from 153 victims. The two women are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI and the women are currently awaiting arraignment. 

The legal world can be one filled with stories that might seem stranger than fiction. The reality is, that people from all walks of life need legal representation for a wide variety of reasons. If you or a loved one are in need of a criminal defense attorney, call the Law Offices of Robert. J. DeGroot TODAY for your confidential consultation.