Two men who hosted a Tampa-area Christian radio show are facing fraud charges after authorities say they cheated individuals out of up to $6 million in a span of over a dozen years.
Investigators say the duo began by purchasing air time on a local religious station in 2002, offering to counsel investors who called in via a toll-free line. The line, which investigators say essentially generated leads for the pair, was used to recruit investors to contribute to the purchase of local real estate and construction of residences. The residences would be rented out until the property was sold, ideally at a profit, and the investors would then have their money returned plus a percentage of the profit on the sale.
However, the duo soon ran into problems, as the downturn in Florida’s real estate market meant that the condos they had constructed could only be sold at a loss. At this point, prosecutors say, the men became desperate to find a lead that would pan out to cover the rapidly-mounting losses. Investors began asking questions, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement began investigating.
Authorities say one man left for Michigan in 2015, where he declared bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the other man allegedly became involved in a deal later investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission that resulted in civil fraud charges.
Both men were arrested in 2014 and charged with fraud, racketeering, and selling unregistered securities. Authorities say they defrauded over three dozen Tampanians out of $6 million. If convicted, each man may be sentenced to up to three decades in Florida prison.
The Law Offices of Bjorn Brunvand have been representing people charged with capital murder, felony drug charges, drunk driving, government fraud, and white-collar crimes for over a quarter century. Contact our office today to discuss your Tampa Bay-area state or federal charges.