Federal prosecutors have announced fraud charges against a Wisconsin real estate investor, reports InsuranceNewsNet.
31-year-old Matthew Thomas Onofrio allegedly orchestrated a scheme to defraud multiple federally-insured banks, including MidCountry Bank in Minnesota. He was indicted by a federal grand jury on three charges of bank fraud.
Court documents said Onofrio ran a business called Northwoods Management LLC and used it to market a real estate investing program for investors to acquire commercial properties. He allegedly caused false information to be submitted to lenders who were financing real estate purchases, and also altered purchase agreements to support higher appraisals of the properties. The fraudulent acts occurred between 2020 and Aug. 2022, the complaint stated.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “Onofrio withheld information from the lenders, including the fact that he was lending money to the investors to help them purchase the properties and would temporarily wire funds to investors’ accounts to create the appearance that they had more available assets than they in fact had.” Over $35 million was seized from Onofrio’s bank account as part of the investigation, and authorities are seeking forfeiture of the funds if he is convicted in the case.
Onofrio made his first appearance in U.S. District Court last month. His attorney said they know of few, if any, transactions where investors lost money on their purchases and said most of his transactions had a positive cash flow and/or an increase in property value.
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