Windemere Couple Arrested At JFK On Fraud Charges
Orlando, Florida - United States Attorney Robert E. O'Neill announces the arrests today of Windermere residents Michael Rivers (48) and Kim Rivers (45). The Riverses were arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint charging them with conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If convicted, each faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
According to the criminal complaint, from June 2010 to March 2013, the Riverses used the Internet to represent to investors that their company, Global Business Genesis, LLC (“GBG”), had created a partnership to establish banking relations in Kenya that would allow GBG to become the first, or second, largest provider of pre-paid currency credit cards in the world. Unbeknownst to investors, Michael Rivers was a defendant in a pending Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) civil action alleging fraudulent activity with a different company (“ARKR Trust, LLC”).
The complaint further alleges that the couple induced investors by claiming they had invested their own resources in the GBC project. They also provided booklets regarding the Eastern African Community ("EAC"), a budget and strategic plan, and a copy of the Letter of Intent ("LOI") from the Minister of the EAC, Republic of Kenya. Investors were told that the EAC had accepted GBG's proposal for a license approving certain and specific software utilized to issue pre-paid Visa/MasterCard currency cards and to provide all integration and end user support. The Riverses represented that the contract was worth an estimated $18 million over a three-year period.
The complaint also alleges that the investors' funds were initially deposited by the Riverses into GBC bank accounts in July and August 2010, and then funneled into a personal bank account they controlled. Investors’ money was used for numerous personal expenditures, including a limousine rental, a deposit on a luxury car, event tickets and expensive dinners.
Investors never received membership certificates affirming their ownership in GBG, any revenue from GBG, or any evidence that their money was ever invested by the Riverses. The Riverses were apprehended by U.S. Secret Service agents on Saturday, March 23, 2013, at JFK Airport and detained pending further proceedings in the Middle District of Florida. They were en route to London. A criminal complaint is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel W. Eckhart and Christopher LaForgia.