Windermere CEO Sentenced To 17 Years For Investment Fraud
Orlando, FL – U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron has sentenced Michael Rivers (57, Windermere) to 17 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft. Rivers was also ordered to pay restitution to his victims in the amount of $1,160,284. The Court also ordered him to forfeit more than $300,000 in proceeds obtained from the fraud, as well as three luxury vehicles. He pleaded guilty in March 2014.
According to court documents, Michael and Kim Rivers created an international bank software company called Global Business Genesis, LLC (“GBG”). The company was headquartered in Orlando. Michael Rivers was the Chief Executive Officer and Kim Rivers was the Executive Assistant of GBG. During the course of the conspiracy, Michael and Kim Rivers created and provided forged and false documents to potential investors. They also made false statements to investors. For example, on December 11, 2012, Michael Rivers sent an e-mail to Kim Rivers, giving her instructions on how to portray herself as an employee of a law firm. The e-mail detailed how Kim Rivers would pretend to be an administrative assistant at the firm. It further detailed how another co-conspirator would pretend to be an associate at the law firm.
In January 2013, Michael Rivers was in London trying to solicit investors. After receiving some resistance from investors, he suggested they call the law firm to speak with an attorney who could vouch for the authenticity of GBG and its license agreements. Michael Rivers called Kim Rivers, who pretended to work at the law firm. A co-conspirator then pretended to be an associate at the firm and stated that due diligence had been conducted.
In addition to the forged attorney documents, Michael and Kim Rivers told state and federal courts, the government, creditors, and opposing litigants, that Michael Rivers had debilitating cancer and was receiving treatment in Argentina. The couple often claimed that Michael Rivers was medically incapacitated in Argentina. They stated that because of his illness, they were unable to appear in court, at depositions, and at meetings in the United States. Those false representations were made in letters, e-mails, filings in state and federal court, court hearings, and in depositions. The statements were also made by agents representing the couple.
During the execution of the search warrants in this case, law enforcement officers found items including correspondence, templates, letterhead, altered documents, and computer images of signatures and seals, which were used during the course of the offenses. These items included the elements used to create the forged documents, including attorney letters, letters from doctors concerning cancer treatment in Argentina and in Florida, insurance documents concerning cancer treatment, and forged documents from financial institutions and government entities.
On August 14, 2014, Judge Byron sentenced Kim Rivers to six years in federal prison and ordered her to pay restitution to the victims in the amount of $1,160,284.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher LaForgia, Daniel Irick, and Nicole Andrejko.