FBI: Former NY businessman used ‘covid relief’ scheme to defraud investors and wealthy corporate executives

Update: A SWAT team nabbed the couple Saturday and are holding them at a federal detention center in Richmond, Va. NBC 10 News reported the couple was being charged with fleeing the country, failing…

FBI: Former NY businessman used ‘covid relief’ scheme to defraud investors and wealthy corporate executives

Update: A SWAT team nabbed the couple Saturday and are holding them at a federal detention center in Richmond, Va. NBC 10 News reported the couple was being charged with fleeing the country, failing to pay income taxes, and making false statements.

If convicted, the couple could face years in prison, NBC 10 News reported.

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An FBI investigation alleges that a Virginia couple has defrauded investors and wealthy corporate executives of millions of dollars through a so-called “covid relief” scheme, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say Shon Greene, the suspect’s wife, 26, and her husband, 29-year-old Kevin Greene, were using a fraudulent power of attorney document to sign paperwork for a multimillion-dollar real estate deal to avoid paying real estate taxes, according to the criminal complaint. The Wayne couple was also said to have concealed their income by reporting vacant and unoccupied properties they owned through rentals as owner occupied property.

The couple used the money to fund travel, real estate purchases and personal expenses, according to prosecutors.

“This is a carefully plotted fraud perpetrated with the most vicious efficiency possible on unsuspecting innocent investors and, as with every billion-dollar scam, the defendants fleeced their victims until they ultimately ran out of money and had no choice but to turn to law enforcement and cooperate with our investigation,” said Clark Ribeiro, special agent in charge of FBI’s New Jersey Division, in a statement.

Karen Hirschhorn, Shon Greene’s attorney, declined to comment on the charges. Phone calls to Kevin Greene’s attorney were not immediately returned.

The criminal complaint alleges that agents interviewed the suspect’s business acquaintances. They said Shon Greene received millions of dollars in monthly transfers from a bank account into what appeared to be corporate trust accounts in Oregon. Agents noted that the bank account showed entries for real estate transfers and cash transfers to the suspect’s name.

When agents confronted Kevin Greene in October at the couple’s home, he stated he was paying rent on leased property and paying taxes, but refused to answer additional questions.

Kevin Greene told agents he and his wife split the proceeds of the mortgage payments and real estate transactions into trust accounts and paid for expenses with the proceeds, according to the criminal complaint. He said his wife handled credit cards.

Officials say Kevin Greene secured a $10 million mortgage on a Brooklyn property in August 2016 with bogus signatures and a fraudulent power of attorney agreement signed by Shon Greene. The criminal complaint says the suspect’s power of attorney and a fraudulent trust transfer were used to hide the couple’s ownership and tax obligation.

Brooklyn law enforcement officials have recovered a $6 million mortgage from the couple through a federal bankruptcy hearing.

The New Jersey Federal Reserve Board recently found that a federal wire transfer of $1.8 million in foreign currency assets stolen by Shon Greene was sent to Kevin Greene, the criminal complaint says.

The couple filed for bankruptcy in April 2011, telling the federal court they owed more than $20 million in assets and had less than $200,000 in assets. The suspect’s real estate interests, which included a Manhattan apartment, a Florida mansion and hundreds of real estate parcels, were valued at more than $4 million, according to the criminal complaint.

Federal agents conducted a search warrant at the couple’s home on East Arrow Route in Wayne on April 21. Federal agents reportedly found several fake power of attorney documents, approximately $1.3 million in cash, seven credit cards containing customer account numbers, $4.9 million in cash and various documents that falsely showed the couple owned property in Florida, New Jersey and New York, according to the criminal complaint.

Federal agents also executed search warrants at two bank accounts maintained in Oregon.

It is unclear when federal investigators first confronted the couple.

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