Miami defendant accused of federal bank fraud charges in import-export scam

A Miami exporter has pleaded guilty to federal charges of bank fraud, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

The 47-year-old owner of a Miami-based exporting company was convicted of defrauding the Export-Import bank of the United States out of more than $24 million. Federal prosecutors alleged that he was part of a ring that submitted false information to the bank to obtain loans between April 2003 and May 2009. These cases have become even more common since the economic downturn as authorities aggressively pursue those accused of falsifying loan documents to obtain credit during the boom years. Hiring a federal defense lawyer in Miami is critical to defending yourself against allegations of bank or investment fraud.

The Export-Import bank is the official export credit agency of the United States and issues loan insurance to U.S. banks on behalf of foreign companies for the purpose of purchasing U.S. goods. The defendant and co-conspirators apparently used a smaller amount of loan proceeds to purchase U.S. goods for foreign buyers than the amount they represented to the bank. He gave some of the remaining proceeds to borrowers in cash, commingled loan proceeds with personal money and transferred loan proceeds to other bank accounts controlled by co-conspirators, according to the plea agreement. In all, his company kept about $2.5 million of the borrowed money and he took about $170,000 for his own personal use.

He faces up to 15 years in prison and a $500,000 fine at his Sept. 13 sentencing. He has agreed to pay more than $2.7 million in forfeiture and to pay more than $12.5 million in restitution.

In April, a 55-year-old man pleaded guilty to charges that he conspired to defraud the bank out of $854,000 after receiving a loan based on false representations.