Owner of Investment Company “Capital Finance Group, LLC" Charged with Running an Advance Fee Scheme
A South Florida resident was arrested and charged with stealing clients’ money for his own personal benefit.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Mark Selby, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), and Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, made the announcement.
Benjamin Crozier, 39, of Coral Springs, Florida, has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and four counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to the indictment, between June 2011 and June 2012, Crozier was the manager and registered agent for Capital Finance Group, LLC (“Capital Finance”). Crozier and others falsely represented to individuals that Capital Finance was a company that would secure loans for its clients to finance business projects in return for a small advanced payment, generally between $5,000 and $10,000. In furtherance of the scheme, Crozier and others represented that Capital Finance had contacts with financial lenders interested in providing funding for various business projects of Capital Finance’s clients. The indictment further alleges that Crozier misled prospective borrowers by promising them that the advance fees were fully refundable at the clients’ option if Capital Finance did not obtain financing for its clients within one year and that, in fact, Crozier and his co-conspirators used the clients’ money for their own personal benefit.
In furtherance of the scheme, the indictment alleges that Crozier and others sent individuals a document from “Santander Lending LLC” that purported to be issued by Banco Santander and used registered trademarks of Banco Santander without the bank’s knowledge or permission.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brooke Watson.
An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.