Former Development Manager Sentenced for Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft
PROVIDENCE, RI – A former construction project manager for a Newport-based real estate development company who admitted, on the eve of trial, that he executed a nearly two-year long scheme to defraud his employer, banks, and construction companies of more than $200,000, which he used to fund the purchase of a boat, pay yacht club fees and scuba diving expenses, and to take trips to Florida, Jamaica, Mexico, and Grand Cayman, was sentenced today to 42 months in federal prison.
According to court documents, within two months of being hired by Landings Real Estate Group (Landings), Gregory Meeker, 57, of Barrington, who oversaw various real estate development projects including the Newport Beach Club and Long Meadow Landings projects, devised a scheme to submit invoices to Landings, many of which were false or inflated, in the names of subcontractors. Landings made checks payable to the subcontractors that were then provided to Meeker for delivery. Instead of delivering the checks to the subcontractors, Meeker forged endorsements on the back of the checks and deposited them into his own bank account.
Meeker admitted that, in some instances, false invoices and subsequently forged endorsements on checks bore the names of individual subcontractors as opposed to business names, including at least two individuals known to him.
Meeker also admitted that he provided Landings with false paperwork related to GMC Construction, an entity he previously operated, including a false name and address, and the use of the Social Security number of an unrelated individual. He prompted Landings to issue over $12,000 in checks to GMC Construction, which he endorsed and deposited into his own bank accounts.
Additionally, Meeker admitted that he forged the endorsement of the Town of Portsmouth on the back of three checks made payable to “Town of Portsmouth – Inspection Department.” He deposited the checks into an account he controlled and used for his fraudulent activity.
Meeker pleaded guilty on January 23, 2020, to twelve counts of bank fraud and two counts of aggravated identity. He was sentenced today by U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy to 42 months in federal prison to be followed by two years of federal supervised release, and to pay $1,400 in special assessments, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard B. Myrus and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.
A restitution order will be forthcoming from the court.
The case, investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sandra R. Hebert and Christine D. Lowell.