EMPLOYEES CHARGED WITH ASSISTING RECEIVER IN THEFT OF $6 MILLION FROM FIDUCIARY FUNDS
Jeffrey H. Sloman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the filing of a criminal information against defendants Jose Wong, age 50, of Miami, Florida, and Steven Jockers, age 64, of Cooper City, Florida, charging them with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The defendants are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert L. Dube.
According to the information, over at least the past 10 years, Lewis B. Freeman, who pled guilty on March 10, 2010, misappropriated funds from fiduciary accounts by writing unauthorized checks to himself or to his company, Lewis B. Freeman and Partners, Inc. (“LBFP”). The unauthorized checks were deposited into LBFP’S operating account, and the stolen funds were subsequently withdrawn by Freeman and used for his benefit and the benefit of his family. Jockers and Wong both were employed at LBFP, and helped Freeman conceal his fraud by falsifying financial reports omitting the unauthorized checks and by falsely inflating account balances for the respective fiduciary accounts Many of these false financial reports were mailed as part of official reports that were submitted to the courts overseeing Freeman’s fiduciary appointments.
Jose Wong began working as an employee at LBFP in1992. Wong held various accounting positions in LBFP, and was ultimately promoted to comptroller at LBFP. In this position, Wong performed all the bookkeeping related to LBFP’s operating accounts and managed Lewis B. Freeman’s personal finances. Wong also prepared financial reports, such as bank reconciliations and cash-flow reports, on a number of matters to which Freeman had been appointed as the fiduciary. Additionally, Wong deposited a large number of unauthorized checks payable to LBFP from the fiduciary accounts into the LBFP operating accounts.
Steven Jockers worked as an employee at LBFP since1998. Jockers frequently assisted Freeman and other principals of LBFP in the day-to-day functions required to maintain receiverships, liquidating trusteeships, and assignments for the benefit of creditors. Jockers also did bookkeeping and prepared financial reports, such as bank reconciliations and cash-flow reports, on a number of matters to which Freeman had been appointed as the fiduciary.
It is estimated that Freeman issued more than 100 unauthorized checks and consequently misappropriated more than $6 million from fiduciary accounts he was responsible for safeguarding.
Mr. Sloman commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The matter is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew K. Levi.
An information is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.