Real Estate Developer Pleads Guilty to Bank Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft
PROVIDENCE, RI – A former construction project manager for a Newport-based real estate development company pled guilty in federal court in Providence on Thursday to twelve counts of bank fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft charges, admitting that he created a scheme that defrauded banks, construction companies, and his employer of more than $200,000.
Gregory Meeker, 57, of Barrington, who oversaw various real estate development projects for Landings Real Estate Group (Landings), including the Newport Beach Club and Long Meadow Landings projects, admitted that two months after being employed by Landings in December 2015, he 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 a 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 one of four bank accounts he used for his fraudulent activity.
Gregory Meeker’s guilty plea before U.S. District Court Judge Mary S. McElroy to twelve counts of bank fraud and two counts of aggravated identity is announced by United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division Joseph R. Bonavolonta.
Meeker is scheduled to be sentenced on April 7, 2020.
Bank Fraud is punishable by statutory penalties of up to thirty years' imprisonment, five years' supervised release, and a fine of $1,000,000. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a term of imprisonment of two years, to be served consecutive to any other term of incarceration ordered in this matter, to be followed by one year supervised release.
The case, investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Sandra R. Hebert and Christine D. Lowell.