Federal grand jury indicts Shreveport businessman for defrauding $96 million from investors and financial institutions
SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced that a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging a Shreveport businessman with scamming more than $96 million from investors and financial institutions.
David D. deBerardinis, 56, of Shreveport, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of attempted bank fraud. According to the indictment, from 2008 to 2016, deBerardinis falsely represented himself through the use of fake documents, identities, business transactions and other false information to obtain more than $96 million from investors and lending institutions. He operated numerous business entities and represented himself as part of the petroleum industry involved in the sale, trade and transport of fuel. The defendant created fraudulent documents, including fake bank statements, fake checks, fuel trade agreements, promissory notes, tolling agreement letters, news articles, in-line production tickets and other fake documents to misrepresent his business activities to investors. He even disguised himself as an Orthodox Jewish businessman at one point while trying to obtain investor funds from a New York-based private equity group after hiring a professional makeup artist. He also falsely claimed to have obtained an international shippers’ license, which required vetting by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. Through these false statements and omissions to investors, deBerardinis obtained millions of dollars from investors in Shreveport, Louisiana and elsewhere.
The defendant faces 20 years in prison for the wire fraud counts and 30 years in prison for the attempted bank fraud count. He also faces a $1 million fine, restitution, forfeiture, and five years of supervised release for each count.
The FBI, U.S. Secret Service and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cytheria D. Jernigan, Christopher J. Stokes, Joseph A. Magliolo and Seth D. Reeg are prosecuting the case. The investigation and prosecution of this case has been a cooperative endeavor between the U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Shreveport and Dallas.
An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.