Miami Mortgage News

4- 3 real estate giants plead guilty to $36M affordable housing scheme

September 9th, 2015 1:26 PM by Nour Ailan

Former Carlisle Development Group CEO Matthew Greer and four others charged earlier this month with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government out of millions of dollars through a low-income housing scheme are scheduled for plea hearings this week, according to court documents. Three of the group pleaded guilty Monday.

Michael Cox and Gonzalo DeRamon, co-founders of the Biscayne Housing Group, and Michael Runyan, president of BJ&K Construction pleaded guilty Monday to one conspiracy charge, two conspiracy charges, and one conspiracy charge, respectively, according to prosecutors.

Greer and Carlisle co-founder Lloyd Boggio are scheduled for a plea hearing on Friday, according to court records.

The five were charged for their part in a scheme that resulted in approximately $36 million in funds stolen from the federal government, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. Another man, Rene Sierra, founder of Plantation-based Siltek Affordable Housing LLC, was charged with the group. Sierra pleaded guilty to conspiring with the group in July.

The scheme ran from about 2007 through 2012, when the six conspired to steal federal tax credits and grant funds by submitting fraudulently inflated contracts for low-income housing developments, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The federal government grants funds to developers to incentivize the construction of low-income housing. But in the case of these six South Florida real estate giants, those credits and grant funds didn’t go where they were intended, officials allege.

The complexes in question included the Miami-Dade County Brownsville Transit Village II, III and IV; the Everett Stewart Senior Village; Metro; Ponciana Grove; Wahneta Palms; Villa Patricia III; Labre Place; Village Carver II; Bonita Cove; Notre Dame; Casa Matias and Georgia Ayers, according to a court document.

When the charges were announced on Aug. 4, the U.S. Attorney’s Office had already recovered about $10.8 million of the misbegotten funds. The federal investigation into Carlisle began in late 2011, according to the Miami Herald, the first media outlet to report on Monday's pleas.

“[M]otivated by personal greed, the defendants are charged with stealing tens of millions of dollars of federal funds intended for the construction of housing for the poor, the homeless, and the elderly of South Florida,” U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said when he announced the charges. “Our office will vigorously pursue those who line their pockets with federal resources that are intended to benefit vulnerable individuals and families.”



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