March 10, 2012

FBI - Dallas Office Reports "Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Roles in $3 Million Fraud Scheme Using Art as Collateral"

On March 7th the Dallas office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement: "Husband and Wife Plead Guilty to Roles in $3 Million Fraud Scheme Using Art as Collateral":
[Eugenio D.] Leo, 30, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and faces five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the loss to the victims.  [Jody L.] Meyer, 46, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and faces a five-year term of probation and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the loss to the victims.  Both Leo and Meyer, who now reside in Harwood Heights, Illinois, will remain on bond pending sentencing, which is set for June 20, 2012 before Judge Kinkeade [Northern District of Texas].
In 2004, according to the FBI, the husband, a commodities broker, asked two clients to "invest their money by making short-term loans to museums in Europe." The FBI press release reports:
These loans would be secured by pieces of artwork worth significantly more than the loan value.
According to the FBI, the broker falsely reported to the client that the loan had been repaid with interest, used the original funds buy artwork, and resold it at a profit to himself.  The broker's wife falsely represented that her husband owned the artwork so that he "could obtain a loan (using the art as collateral) from the Art Capital Group for approximately $300,000", reported the FBI.

The Art Capital Group is the company that loaned money to photographer Annie Leibovitz against her work.  Felix Salmon of Reuters discussed the companies lending practices in 2009 here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment