MIAMI – A South Florida federal grand jury has charged Johanna Michely Garcia, the former Chief Executive Officer of MJ Capital Funding, LLC, with conducting an investment Ponzi fraud scheme, totaling approximately $190,700,000, from the business.
The indictment, unsealed today, charges Garcia, 40, of Broward County, Florida with conspiring to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and multiple counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering.
According to the indictment, MJ Capital Funding, LLC was a Pompano Beach company that offered merchant cash advances, or MCAs, a type of short-term financing typically used by small and medium-sized businesses. The indictment alleges that from about October 2020 to August 12, 2021, Garcia, Pavel Ramon Ruiz Hernandez, and others fraudulently solicited money from investors purportedly to fund MJ Capital Funding, LLC’s MCAs. It also alleges that Garcia, Ruiz Hernandez, and their co-conspirators recruited others to solicit additional investors, typically paying the recruits about 10% of the money they raised.
Garcia had her initial appearance in U.S. Magistrate Court today. A subsequent hearing in this matter will be held on August 28, 2023, at 1:30 p.m., in U.S. Magistrate Court. If convicted, Garcia faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison as to each conspiracy, money laundering and mail fraud counts, and ten years in prison as to each money laundering charge. A federal district court judge would determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Ruiz Hernandez was charged in August 2022 and pleaded guilty in April 2023. He is scheduled to be sentenced on September 7, 2023, in U.S. District Court, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri, FBI, Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
FBI Miami investigated this case. The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, Miami Regional Office, and Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation assisted with the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric E. Morales of the Southern District of Florida is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marx Calderon is handling forfeiture.
An indictment is a charging instrument containing allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov under case number 23-CR-20350.