When you think of criminals handcuffed and shackled, you probably think “axe murderer” a little before you get down to “real estate flipper.” However, that is exactly how the defendants in one of the “largest real estate fraud conspiracies in Sarasota [Florida] history” heard their charges yesterday in court. Judge Mark Pizzo announced the charges faced by the seven defendants, who appeared to plead not guilty. Bail was set at $25,000 each and they were instructed to surrender their passports.
Craig Adams, who stands accused of being the organizer of the extensive real estate fraud ring of which the seven are a part, has already pled guilty to conspiracy. Members of the group are also involved in a much larger grand jury indictment involving 14 co-conspirators, $47 million and 22 Sarasota real estate deals. While just a few years ago the defendants were known as successful real estate investors, today they have defaulted on more than $100 million in loans and Adams is providing recorded testimony against them.
All seven of the defendants in court yesterday pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, making false statements to federally insured lenders and wire fraud. Do you think that the chains are too much, or no less than this crew deserves?
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