Rhode Island Property Developer Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison for $10 Million Ponzi Scheme and Obstructing IRS Investigation
An East Greenwich, Rhode Island, property developer was sentenced to eight years in prison today for operating a $10.3 million dollar Ponzi scheme and obstructing an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigation, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman for the District of Rhode Island.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Monique N. Brady owned and operated MNB LLC, a property preservation and rehabilitation business. From 2014 through summer 2018, Brady used her business to solicit private investors to invest funds for large scale rehabilitation of properties with the promise that investors would receive half of the profits. Brady told investors the projects consisted of full‑scale rehabilitations of foreclosed properties in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, costing tens of thousands of dollars. In reality, the projects consisted of smaller preservation-type work costing far less. In many instances, Brady solicited investors and received funds for projects that did not exist. Of the 171 properties for which Brady ostensibly obtained investor fund for rehabilitation projects, 98 were for properties her company was never hired to preserve, and on which no work was ever performed.
To make her solicitations appear legitimate, Brady created fraudulent emails claiming she had won a bid to rehabilitate a property from an established national property preservation company. Although these emails included the name of an actual employee of the company, the company in fact had no such involvement with Brady and the employee’s name was used without permission. Brady collected more than $10 million in investor funds, some of which she used for personal expenditures.
After Brady was informed that she was the subject of an IRS investigation, she attempted to obstruct the investigation by asking her investors to delete all emails, texts, and documents relating to their investments in MNB rehabilitation projects.
On July 11, 2019, Brady pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and obstructing an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) investigation.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr. ordered Brady to serve three years of supervised release, to pay $4.78 million in restitution.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Weisman thanked special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vilker and Trial Attorney Christopher O’Donnell of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.