Texas Court Sentences Man To 20 Years In Prison For Fraud Scheme
White-collar crimes like fraud may not seem as serious as violent crimes such as murder or armed robbery. But depending on the nature–and dollar amount–of the fraud, a person can face serious felony charges, and potentially decades in prison if convicted. This is especially true when prosecutors can prove the fraud was part of an “organized criminal activity.”
Prosecutors: Defendant Made Bogus Loans, Kept “Commitment Fees”
Take this recent case from Fort Bend County, Rashid v. State. The events leading up to this case began more than a decade ago in 2010. A Fort Bend County small business owner named Reyes was looking for a loan. Through a broker, he met the defendant and his partner, who owned a company called Worldwide Resources USA. The defendant agreed to loan Reyes $360,000. To seal the deal, Reyes paid a $36,000 commitment fee to Worldwide. This money would be refunded to Reyes if Worldwide did not fund the loan within 30 days.
The 30 days came and went. Reyes had not received his loan. Nor did Worldwide refund him $36,000 commitment fee. Reyes went to the local police and filed a fraud complaint. A detective subsequently started an investigation that “lasted several years,” according to court records. To make a long story short, the detective uncovered evidence that the defendant had defrauded several other individuals and businesses in the same manner as Reyes. For example, a West Virginia company engaged the defendant and his partner, operating under a different business name, to secure a $200 million loan. The West Virginia company paid a $750,000 commitment fee. It never received either the loan nor a refund of that fee.
By 2018, police had arrested the defendant and his partner. The defendant agreed to plead guilty to “engaging in criminal activity,” or participating in organized crime as defined by Section 71.02 of the Texas Penal Code. A judge subsequently held a sentencing hearing where several of the fraud victims, including Reyes, testified.
When all was said and done, the judge sentenced the defendant to 20 years in prison. The court also ordered him to make restitution to a number of his victims, including the company defrauded out of the $750,000. (Reyes was not a party to the restitution, as the defendant refunded the $36,000 shortly after his arrest). The defendant later appealed part of the restitution order, arguing the state could not prove he actually defrauded three of the nine victims listed in the order. The Texas First District Court of Appeals partially agreed. It held that the evidence regarding two of the victims only established that they had given the defendant money, not that they engaged in any sort of business deal where they expected to get that money back at some point.
Speak with Pearland Fraud Defense Lawyer Keith B. French Today
If you are facing any type of fraud charge, it is important to get timely, qualified legal advice from a Pearland fraud attorney. Contact Keith B. French Law, PLLC, today.