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Where Is He Now? Fraudster Francis Santa Was Sentenced to 88 Months for Conspiracy

Now Frank’s Out After Snitchin’ to Obtain a Lighter Sentence from Judge Kenneth Marra for Financial Institution Fraud, He’s Been In Touch with LIT.

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United States v. Santa

(9:11-cr-80007)

District Court, S.D. Florida

JAN 11, 2011 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: APR 22, 2022

Factual Proffer

On August 10, 2011, movant entered into the following factual proffer with the government used to support his guilty plea, which he thereafter acknowledged as correct during his change of plea hearing:

If this case had proceeded to trial, the Government would have established beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant FRANCIS SANTA did knowingly and willfully conspire with others to execute and cause the execution of a scheme and artifice to defraud financial institutions through the submission of fraudulent line of credit applications and related financial documents on behalf of unqualified borrowers.

In approximately 2003, FRANCIS SANTA began operating Palm Beach Business Consultant, Inc. (PBBC), a Florida corporation located in Boca Raton, Florida.

PBBC was in the business of preparing fraudulent loan package for individuals who lacked the income, credit scores and/or collateral to qualify for legitimate loans and/or lines of credit.

To induce clients to use PBBC’s services, SANTA represented that he had arrangements with numerous bankers who would push through fraudulent loans and/or lines of credit for PBBC clients. Indeed, SANTA claimed that he could get clients up to $300,000 in loans and/or lines of credit from these bankers.

He further represented that he had employees who were skilled at creating fraudulent loan and/or line of credit packages so that the PBBC clients would appear to be qualified, when in fact they were not.

To take advantage of SANTA’S services, the clients were required to pay SANTA fees ranging from $12,500 to $25,000.

The fees were paid up- front or after the loan and/or line of credit was funded by the bank.

SANTA hired several employees who were responsible for preparing the fraudulent loan and/or line of credit application packages for PBBC clients.

These co-conspirators, including Rodney Kahane and Daniel Paine and the non-law enforcement loan applicants, prepared fraudulent loan and line of credit applications in which they falsely reported the applicant’s income, and in many instances, included false and fraudulent financial documents, including false tax returns, false balance sheets and false income statements.

SANTA worked with numerous local bank officers who would facilitate the processing of the fraudulent loan applications in return for a kickback – typically cash, an American Express gift card or other means of remuneration.

In most instances, the fraudulent line of credit applications were approved by the banks. The applicants would take possession of the line of credit proceeds and withdraw funds against the lines of credit.

In almost all instances, the applicants were not able to repay the lines of credit, which resulted in substantial losses to the banks.

Between at least as early as September 13, 2005, through at least May 28, 2009, SANTA actively prepared and submitted loan documents based upon fictitious facts for at least thirty-two individual loans.

These loans were submitted on behalf of clients of PBBC utilizing false documents which were prepared by co-conspirators Kahane and Paine. These loans were submitted through bank officers at Wachovia Bank, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, Regions Bank, Suntrust Bank, Commerce Bank, and National City Bank, through co-defendant bank officers CHRISTOPHER BROORKS, DAVID MCGUIRE, and others.

A listing of the fraudulently applied for loans, including the date, the amount, the bank and banker involved and whether the loan was funded is attached hereto and made a part of this factual stipulation supporting the factual basis for the entry of the plea of guilty.

SANTA admits that the amount of the loans sought through his criminal activities was $2,658,000.00 and that the banks suffered an actual loss of $1,502,465.04 as a result of these fraudulently obtained loans.

The charge to which defendant SANTA is pleading guilty is conspiracy to commit fraud on financial institutions.

Santa is ‘Representing Mr. and Mrs Esposito’ in a ‘Removal Request’ via his Business, operating online at BusinessImageLift.com for an alleged article identified by his email, on a sister site at LawsInTexas.com. Note: Mrs. Esposito was formally indicted as Melissa Ringel, not Esposito, and both Esposito and Ringel have criminal cases pending in NY Supreme Court, before Justice Rodney.

Sentencing Guidelines

Prior to the sentencing hearing, the probation officer prepared a PSI wherein, movant was assessed a base offense level of
7.

(PSI§139).

Notwithstanding the probation officer’s initial calculations, because the loss was more than $2,500,000, but not more than $7,000,000, the offense level was increased by 18 levels.

(PSI§140).

Likewise, because the offense involved sophisticated means and since movant was determined to be an organizer or leader of the criminal activity that involved five or more participants, the offense level was increased by an additional six levels.

(PSI§§141,143).

Movant’s adjusted offense level was 31. (

PSI§145).

However, because movant demonstrated acceptance of responsibility, his offense level was reduced by three levels, ultimately setting his total offense level at 28.

(PSI§§147-149).

The probation officer further determined movant had a total of 8 criminal history points and a criminal history category of IV.

(PSI§§155-157).

Based on a total offense level of 28 and a criminal history category of IV, movant’s guideline imprisonment range was
110 to 137 months.

(PSI§193).

Francis ‘Frank’ Santa’s New Defense Counsel became a Criminal Judge (The Honorable Scott Suskauer)

On the same day objections to the PSI were filed, defense counsel also filed a motion for downward variance and/or downward departure based upon the 18 U.S.C. §3553(a) factors and movant’s extensive cooperation with the government.

(Cr-DE#315).

A few days later, defense counsel Richard L. Rosenbaum moved to withdraw from the case, which was granted and a notice of appearance was filed by Scott Ira Suskauer.

(Cr-DEs#317,323,324).

Attorney Suskauer filed amended objections, adopting prior counsel’s objections to the PSI, and further argued movant should only be held responsible for the actual loss amount and that the intended loss should not be calculated as part of the determination of the proper sentencing guideline.

(Cr-DE#322).

In response, the government opposed movant’s request for a downward variance/departure.

(Cr-DE#335).

Although the government admitted movant’s cooperation resulted in the arrest and prosecution of the co-defendants charged in the information in the underlying criminal proceedings, it nonetheless argued movant had committed unauthorized criminal acts while working with the FBI, which were discovered without the assistance of the movant, in violation of the cooperation agreement.

(Id.).

The government also opposed the movant’s objections to the PSI arguing that movant should be held responsible for the intended loss amount and not solely the actual loss.

(Cr-DE#334).

Then, on November 29, 2011, defense counsel filed a memorandum in aid of sentencing wherein movant’s good character was highlighted, and further reminded the Court of movant’s acceptance of responsibility, along with his extensive cooperation efforts with the government.

(Cr-DE#337).

Specifically, movant argued that his cooperation outweighs anything he may have done to offset the benefit that the government had already received and would continue to receive.

(Id.).

We get it though, Frank must be upset reading LIF when he sees Lawyers thievin’ millions, more than his amount and they are operating like nothing happened, livin’ the millionaire beach bum lifestyle in Florida.

Sentencing

Following defense counsel’s sentencing memorandum, on December 1, 2011, movant appeared for sentencing.

(Cr-DE#339).

During the hearing, defense counsel argued the intended loss was not the actual loss amount, therefore, movant was inappropriately assessed 18 levels instead of 16 levels.

(Cr-DE#351:3).

Following argument by both parties on this matter, the Court overruled the objection.

(Id.:19).

Next, defense counsel objected to movant’s role assessment arguing movant’s role was only that of manager to two individuals; however, the Court also overruled this objection.

(Id.:19-21).

Counsel then proceeded with his argument on his motion for downward variance or departure.

(Id.:21).

In doing so, counsel focused on movant’s extraordinary efforts with cooperation and noted that as a result of movant’s cooperation, 27 individuals had been convicted with others under investigation at that time.

(Id.:23-29).

In response, the government argued that based on three instances, it could not file a 5K1 motion because movant had committed wrongful acts in violation of his obligations to cooperate.

(Id.:33).

The government did not dispute that movant had provided extraordinary assistance; however, based on the specific requirements of the cooperation agreement, which encompassed movant not doing anything illegal again, he could not be a beneficiary of a 5K1 motion.

(Id.:33-37).

Following further argument from the government and closing remarks from defense counsel, the Court, after having considered the statements of all the parties, the PSI, as well as statutory factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a)(1) through (7),

based on his cooperation, sentenced movant below the guideline range and imposed a sentence of 88 months, restitution totaling $1,502,465.04, followed by five years of supervised release. (Id.:37-45).

The Clerk entered judgment on December 2, 2011.

LIF COMMENT; BASED ON AN 88 MONTH SENTENCE, THIS WOULD MEAN AN ANTICIPATED FEDERAL PRISON RELEASE DATE OF:  Tuesday, April 2, 2019 AND FRANCIS SANTA’S PROBATION WOULD END, IF COMPLETED WITHOUT INCIDENT, 60 MONTHS THEREAFTER; Tuesday, April 2, 2024 – SO FRANK’s STILL ON PROBATION AT THIS TIME AND THERE’S NOTHING ON THE COURT RECORDS WE COULD FIND INDICATING HOW MUCH OF THE $1.5M RESTITUTION HE HAS REPAID.

(Cr-DE#340).

No direct appeal ensued.

The judgment of conviction in the underlying criminal case became final at the latest on December 16, 2011, fourteen days after the entry of the judgment, when time expired for filing a notice of appeal.1

1Where, as here, a defendant does not pursue a direct appeal, his conviction becomes final when the time for filing a direct appeal expires. Adams v. United States, 173 F.3d 1339, 1342 n.2 (11th Cir. 1999). In 2009, the time for filing a direct appeal was increased from 10 to 14 days days after the judgment or order being appealed is entered. Fed.R.App.P. 4(b)(1)(A)(i). The judgment is “entered” when it is entered on the docket by the Clerk of Court. Fed.R.App.P. 4(b)(6). Moreover, now every day, including intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays are included in the computation. See Fed.R.App.P. 26(a)(1).

Conclusion

It is therefore recommended that this motion to vacate be denied; that a certificate of appealability be denied; and, the case closed.

Objections to this report may be filed with the District Judge within fourteen days of receipt of a copy of the report.

Signed this 2nd day of October, 2013.

MAGISTRATE JUDGE PATRICK A. WHITE

After performing some more research, the old adage that federal prisons do not offer ‘early release’, apparently that is a misnomer. LIF discovered Francis Santa was released on April 13, 2017 – so his 5 year post release probation would end conveniently right before he emailed LIT via his new business. So rather than 88 months, he served considerably less time and on review of the docket he was in prison since indictment so that means he served approximately 75 months.

U.S. District Court
Southern District of Florida (West Palm Beach)
CIVIL DOCKET FOR CASE #: 9:12-cv-81369-KAM

Santa v. USA
Assigned to: Judge Kenneth A. Marra

Case in other court:  USDC Southern FL, 11-CR-80007-KAM
13-11788-C

Cause: 28:2255 Motion to Vacate Sentence

Date Filed: 12/17/2012
Date Terminated: 12/09/2014
Jury Demand: None
Nature of Suit: 510 Prisoner: Vacate Sentence
Jurisdiction: U.S. Government Defendant
Plaintiff
Francis Santa represented by Francis Santa
48312-054
Terminal Island
Federal Correctional Institution
Inmate Mail/Parcels
Post Office Box 3007
San Pedro, CA 90731-0207
PRO SEAnna Laniado
Laniado Law PL
40 NW 3rd Street
Suite 200
Miami, FL 33128
7862089565
Email: alaniado@laniadolaw.net
TERMINATED: 01/08/2013
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED
V.
Defendant
USA represented by Anne Ruth Schultz
United States Attorney’s Office
99 NE 4 Street
Miami, FL 33132
305-961-9117
Fax: 530-7941
Email: anne.schultz@usdoj.gov
TERMINATED: 01/03/2013
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICEDEllen L Cohen
United States Attorney’s Office
500 South Australian Avenue
Suite 400
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
561-209-1046
Fax: 659-4526
Email: Ellen.Cohen@usdoj.gov
LEAD ATTORNEY
ATTORNEY TO BE NOTICED

 

Date Filed # Docket Text
12/17/2012 1 MOTION (Complaint) to Vacate Sentence (2255) . NOTE: All further docketing is to be done in the civil case. (Criminal Case # 11-80007), filed by Francis Santa. (Attachments: # 1 Appendix Addendum to Claim One, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(Laniado, Anna) (Entered: 12/17/2012)
12/17/2012 2 Judge Assignment to Judge Kenneth A. Marra (tpl) (Entered: 12/18/2012)
12/18/2012 3 Clerks Notice to Filer re: Electronic Case. Incorrect case opening information. The Filer selected the incorrect Jurisdiction when filing. The correction was made. It is not necessary to re-file this document. (tpl) (Entered: 12/18/2012)
12/18/2012 4 Clerks Notice to Filer re: Electronic Case. Incorrect case opening information. The Filer selected the incorrect Nature of Suit when filing. The correction was made. It is not necessary to re-file this document. (tpl) (Entered: 12/18/2012)
12/20/2012 5 ORDER re 1 Motion (Complaint) to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence (2255) filed by Francis Santa. Show Cause Response due by 1/14/2013. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 12/20/2012. (ir) (Entered: 12/20/2012)
01/03/2013 6 Notice of Reassignment of Assistant U.S. Attorney by Ellen L Cohen on behalf of USA Attorney Anne Ruth Schultz terminated. (Cohen, Ellen) (Entered: 01/03/2013)
01/04/2013 7 First MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 5 Order, Set/Reset Deadlines to March 5, 2013 by USA. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Cohen, Ellen) (Entered: 01/04/2013)
01/04/2013 8 MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney by Anna Laniado. by Francis Santa. Responses due by 1/22/2013 (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Laniado, Anna) (Entered: 01/04/2013)
01/05/2013 9 RESPONSE to Motion re 8 MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney by Anna Laniado. filed by USA. Replies due by 1/17/2013. (Cohen, Ellen) (Entered: 01/05/2013)
01/08/2013 10 ENDORSED ORDER granting 7 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply 5 Order to respond to March 5, 2013. Responses due by 3/15/2013. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 1/8/2013. (ir) (Entered: 01/08/2013)
01/08/2013 11 MOTION to Terminate Counsel by Francis Santa. (lbc) (Entered: 01/08/2013)
01/08/2013 12 MOTION to Supplement the Record by Francis Santa. (lbc) (Entered: 01/08/2013)
01/08/2013 13 ORDER granting 8 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Anna Laniado terminated ; granting 11 Motion to proceed pro se. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 1/8/2013. (ir) (Entered: 01/08/2013)
01/08/2013 14 ORDER REFERRING CASE to Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White for Pretrial Proceedings. Motions referred to Patrick A. White Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 1/8/2013. (lbc) (Entered: 01/08/2013)
01/10/2013 15 NOTICE of filing receipt of correspondence by Francis Santa. (ir) (Entered: 01/10/2013)
01/11/2013 16 INITIAL ORDER OF INSTRUCTIONS TO PRO SE LITIGANT. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 1/10/2013. (br) (Entered: 01/11/2013)
01/11/2013 17 ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE that on or before forty-five days from the date of this order, the respondent shall file a memorandum of fact and law to show cause why this motion should not be granted. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 1/10/2013. (br) (Entered: 01/11/2013)
02/15/2013 18 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 Order to Show Cause, by USA. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(Cohen, Ellen) (Entered: 02/15/2013)
02/19/2013 19 ORDER granting 12 Motion ; granting 18 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 12 MOTION to Supplement the Record subject to any and all applicable procedural bars., 18 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 Order to Show Cause, ( Responses due by 4/25/2013) Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 2/19/2013. (cz) (Entered: 02/19/2013)
02/25/2013 20 Petitioner’s MOTION in Opposition to the Government’s Request for 18 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 17 Order to Show Cause, by Francis Santa. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order)(yar) (Entered: 02/26/2013)
02/27/2013 21 MEMORANDUM Brief in Support of re 1 MOTION to Vacate Sentence (2255), With Points and Authorities by Francis Santa. (yar) (Entered: 02/27/2013)
02/27/2013 22 ORDER denying 20 Motion in opposition to government’s motion for extension of time. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 2/27/2013. (cz) (Entered: 02/27/2013)
03/25/2013 23 MOTION for Production of Documents/Plea Colloquy, Sentencing Transcripts, Pursuant to Petitioner’s Motion Under 28 USC 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside, or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody by Francis Santa. (yha) (Entered: 03/25/2013)
03/26/2013 24 ORDER deferring ruling on 23 Motion to Produce, the government shall respond to this motion with its response to the order to show cause. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 3/26/2013. (cz) (Entered: 03/26/2013)
03/28/2013 25 MOTION for Production of Documents/Plea Colloquy, Sentencing Transcripts Pursuant to Petitioner’s Motion Under 28 U.S.C. 2255 to Vacate, Set Aside or Correct Sentence by a Person in Federal Custody by Francis Santa. (yar) (Entered: 03/28/2013)
04/01/2013 26 ORDER deferring ruling on 25 Motion to Produce, the government shall respond to the two motions for production of documents forthwith. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 4/1/2013. (cz) (Entered: 04/01/2013)
04/01/2013 27 RESPONSE to Motion re 25 MOTION to Produce, 23 MOTION to Produce transcripts of plea and sentening hearings and corresponding orders filed by USA. Replies due by 4/11/2013. (Attachments: # 1 Transcripts Plea colloquy, # 2 Transcripts Sentencing hearing)(Cohen, Ellen) (Entered: 04/01/2013)
04/03/2013 28 ORDER granting 23 Motion to Produce; granting 25 Motion to Produce, see government’s response (DE#27). Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 4/3/2013. (cz) (Entered: 04/03/2013)
04/08/2013 29 MOTION for Bail Pending 28 U.S.C. 2255 Motion, Pursuant to FRAP Rule 23 and the Bail Reform Act 18 U.S.C. 1341 by Francis Santa. Responses due by 4/25/2013 (yar) (Entered: 04/08/2013)
04/09/2013 30 ORDER denying 29 Motion for Bond. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 4/9/2013. (ir) (Entered: 04/09/2013)
04/15/2013 31 MOTION to Expand the Record Pursuant to Rule 7 Governing 2255 Proceedings by Francis Santa. (yar) (Main Document 31 replaced on 5/15/2013) (ail). (Entered: 04/15/2013)
04/16/2013 32 ORDER granting 31 Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages to include plea transcript. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 4/15/2013. (cz) (Entered: 04/16/2013)
04/17/2013 33 RESPONSE TO ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE re 5 Order, Set/Reset Deadlines by USA. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4)(Cohen, Ellen) (Entered: 04/17/2013)
04/23/2013 34 Notice of Interlocutory Appeal by Francis Santa re 30 Order on Motion for Bond. Filing fee $(NOT PAID). Within fourteen days of the filing date of a Notice of Appeal, the appellant must complete the Eleventh Circuit Transcript Order Form regardless of whether transcripts are being ordered [Pursuant to FRAP 10(b)]. For information go to our FLSD website under Transcript Information. (mc) (Entered: 04/24/2013)
04/23/2013 35 MOTION for Certificate of Appealability construed from 34 Notice of Appeal by Francis Santa. Responses due by 5/10/2013 (mc) (Entered: 04/24/2013)
04/29/2013 36 Acknowledgment of Receipt of NOA from USCA re 34 Notice of Interlocutory Appeal, filed by Francis Santa. Date received by USCA: 4/24/13. USCA Case Number: 13-11788-C. (hh) (Entered: 04/29/2013)
05/03/2013 37 TRANSCRIPT INFORMATION FORM by Francis Santa re 34 Notice of Interlocutory Appeal. No Transcript Requested. (mc) (Entered: 05/07/2013)
05/15/2013 38 Clerks Notice of Docket Correction re 31 MOTION for Leave to File Excess Pages. Correction: Image replaced with complete image; see attached for viewing. (ail) (Entered: 05/15/2013)
05/17/2013 39 MOTION for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis on appeal with Inmate Account Statement attached by Francis Santa. (mc) (Entered: 05/17/2013)
05/20/2013 40 NOTICE of Traverse Reply by Francis Santa re 33 Response to Order to Show Cause (lbc) (Entered: 05/20/2013)
05/20/2013 41 MOTION to Supplement the Record Pursuant to Rule 15 by Francis Santa. (lbc) (Entered: 05/20/2013)
05/21/2013 42 ENDORSED ORDER granting 39 Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis on Appeal. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 5/21/2013. (ir) (Entered: 05/21/2013)
05/21/2013 43 ORDER granting 41 Motion motion to supplement the record, the government shall respond in thirty days to additional issues and may apply any and all applicable procedural bars. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 5/21/2013. (cz) (Entered: 05/21/2013)
05/28/2013 44 RESPONSE/REPLY to 41 MOTION to Supplement the Record Pursuant to Rule 15, 43 Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief by USA. (Cohen, Ellen) (Entered: 05/28/2013)
05/29/2013 45 *Endorsed Order tHE GOVERNMENT’S mOTION TO WITHDRAW ORDER de#43 AS DUPLICATIVE OF de#19 IS GRANTED. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 5/29/2013. (cz) (Entered: 05/29/2013)
06/05/2013 46 ORDER denying 35 Motion for Certificate of Appealability Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 6/4/2013. (amb) (Entered: 06/05/2013)
06/07/2013 47 MOTION for the District Court to Take Judicial Notice – For The Petitioner’s 1 Motion to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence (2255),, MOTION for an Evidentiary Hearing by Francis Santa. (yar) (Additional attachment(s) added on 6/10/2013: # 1 Exhibit) (yar). (Entered: 06/10/2013)
06/21/2013 48 ORDER granting 47 Motion to take judicial notice of 2255 filed ; denying 47 Motion for Hearing, if a hearing is required one will be set at a later date. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 6/21/2013. (cz) (Entered: 06/21/2013)
09/03/2013 49 ORDER of Dismissal from USCA, denying Appellant’s motion for a certificate of appealability because Santa’s has failed to make the requisite showing as to 34 Notice of Interlocutory Appeal, filed by Francis Santa, USCA # 13-11788-C (hh) (Entered: 09/03/2013)
10/02/2013 50 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS on 28 USC 2255 case re 1 Motion (Complaint) to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence (2255), filed by Francis Santa. Recommending that this motion to vacate be denied; that a certificate of appealability be denied; and, the case closed. Objections to R&R due by 10/21/2013 Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 10/2/2013. (tw) (Entered: 10/02/2013)
10/21/2013 51 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Opposition to Report of Magistrate; Attached Declaration of Francis Santana 50 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS on 28 USC 2255 case re 1 Motion (Complaint) to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence (2255), filed by Francis Santa Recommending that this motion to vacate be denied; that a certificate of appealability be denied; and, the… by Francis Santa. (yar) Modified text on 10/21/2013 (yar). (Entered: 10/21/2013)
10/22/2013 52 ENDORSED ORDER granting 51 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply re 50 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS on 28 USC 2255 case re 1 Motion (Complaint) to Vacate/Set Aside/Correct Sentence (2255), filed by Francis Santa Recommending that this motion to vacate be denied. Objections to R&R due by 10/31/2013. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 10/22/2013. (ir) (Entered: 10/22/2013)
10/31/2013 53 Petitioner’s OBJECTION to Report of Magistrate Judge 50 Report and Recommendations by Francis Santa. (yar) (Entered: 11/01/2013)
12/09/2014 54 FINAL JUDGMENT ORDER ADOPTING 50 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS denying 1 petition to vacate pursuant to 2255. Certificate of Appealability: DENIED. This case is CLOSED. Signed by Judge Kenneth A. Marra on 12/8/2014. (ir)NOTICE: If there are sealed documents in this case, they may be unsealed after 1 year or as directed by Court Order, unless they have been designated to be permanently sealed. See Local Rule 5.4 and Administrative Order 2014-69. Modified on 12/9/2014 (ir). (Entered: 12/09/2014)
12/10/2014 55 Case No Longer Referred to Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White/Case Closed by the District Judge. Signed by Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White on 12/10/2014. (br) (Entered: 12/10/2014)
And here’s another lawyer not reported for mortgage fraud. A bit of a cliche when you see Judge Marra turned a blind eye to it as well and then is sentencing Santa…

LONG-TERM FBI UNDERCOVER OPERATION NABS A TOTAL OF 24 DEFENDANTS

Charges include Conspiracy, Bank Fraud, Money Laundering and Identity Theft

JAN 12, 2011 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: APR 22, 2022

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce the filing of charges against fifteen defendants on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud, bribery, money laundering, and identity theft.

The defendants, including a loan broker, seven bank officers, and seven customers,are charged in separate Informations for their participation in a four-year scheme to defraud ten area banks out of more than $10 million through the submission of fraudulent small business loans and lines of credit applications.

Previously, another nine defendants were charged in connection with this undercover operation – seven were charged for their participation in a separate identity theft ring and two were charged with bank fraud and money laundering.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated,

“South Florida ranks first in the nation in home mortgage loan origination fraud, through which false documents are created and submitted to banks to obtain home mortgage loans.

Today, we see a new twist on that scheme. Instead of home mortgages, this ring of defendants, with the help of corrupt bankers, used the same tactics to fraudulently obtain small business loans and lines of credit.

To date, this undercover operation has resulted in charges against a total of 24 defendants, putting them out of the fraud business and potentially into jail cells.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies stated,

“Today’s case highlights a growing and disturbing trend of the illegal use of small business lines of credit to further criminal activity.

As a result of individual corruption, today’s defendants cost taxpayers, banks and the federal government millions of dollars.

While today’s case marks a significant first step toward combating these crimes, the FBI remains vigilant in its pursuit of this new breed of financial and corporate greed.”

And here’s a recent 11th Circuit decision agreeing with pro se litigants that Judge Kenneth Marra did in fact abuse his powers, but his admitted perjury by written orders confirming the same is not enough to remove him from the lower court case, despite a plethora of case law rejecting that conclusion.

The Information filed today charges loan broker Frank Santa, 51, of Boca Raton, the owner and operator of Palm Beach Business Consultants (PBBC), a loan brokerage business specializing in obtaining fraudulent business loans for clients with poor credit histories.

Also charged were the following seven bankers:

Daniel Agudelo, 34, of Royal Palm Beach, a Small Business Banker at Fifth Third Bank;

Christopher Brooks, 34, of Tamarac, an Assistant Vice President at Bank of America;

Macario Deguzman, 30, of Miramar, a Vice President at Regions Bank and Am Trust Bank;

William Hebert, 36, of Lake Worth, a Vice President at HSBC Bank;

David Mcguire, 39, of Boca Raton, a Regional Private Banker at Wachovia Bank;

David Ramoy, 33, of Lighthouse Point, a bank officer at Floridian Community Bank;

and

Alexander Reyes, 25, of Boynton Beach, a Small Business Banker at Fifth Third Bank.

The Francis Santa Foundation

 Boca Raton, FL, United States

February 25, 2022

Francis Santa, a philanthropist from Boca Raton, Florida is launching the Francis Santa Foundation. He has created a website for his foundation which can be found at https://francissantafoundation.com.

  Credit: GLOBE NEWSWIRE/YAHOO!

LIF are non-lawyers, but we would suggest that operating a ‘foundation’*as a convicted felon – is probably not allowed, and whether Santa has disclosed this to his Probation Officer is questionable (it was advertised before his estimated probation ended).

Certainly, LIT searched the IRS for his foundation but found no match.

Finally, considering he has a restitution order of over $1.5 Million dollars, the only foundation he should be giving to is the fund to repay his victims.

*What Is a Private Foundation?

A private foundation is a nonprofit charitable entity that is generally created by a single benefactor, usually an individual or a business. Using this initial seed donation, known as an endowment, an investment is made to generate income, which is then dispersed in the form of grants to individuals or other charities in accordance with the foundation’s charitable purpose.

Credit: Investopedia

Boca man pleads guilty to conspiring to bribe bankers and fake financial documents

AUG 9, 2011 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: APR 22, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH — The owner of a Boca Raton company pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to bribe local bankers and falsify financial documents to secure more than $1.5 million in fraudulent small business loans and lines of credit.

Francis Santa admitted orchestrating what federal prosecutors have described as an unique form of fraud: enlisting corrupt bankers to approve business loans for clients with poor credit histories. Santa and his employees at Palm Beach Business Consultants attempted to push through more than $10 million in bogus loans and lines of credit since the firm opened in 2003, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

After federal authorities caught on to Santa’s scheme, he began working with them and agreed to introduce an undercover FBI agent to the bankers. The sting culminated in January with the arrests of 15 people, including Santa, a Broward Schools assistant principal, a former Broward Sheriff’s investigative aide and seven Broward and Palm Beach bankers.

Fourteen of the defendants have entered into plea agreements. Thomas Correa, an assistant principal at the Lanier-James Education Center in Hallandale Beach, is still fighting charges he signed false tax returns to receive $300,000 in bank loans.

Santa, 52, agreed to plead guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit fraud on a financial institution, a charge that could carry up to 30 years in federal prison. He likely faces far less time behind bars when U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sentences him on Oct. 21.

Santa’s attorney, Richard Rosenbaum, said his client cooperated extensively with federal authorities and will likely be called to testify if Correa goes to trial.

When Santa left the federal courthouse on Wednesday, he told a photographer, “You’re not getting my picture,” and began running. In a white dress shirt and tan slacks, Santa sprinted about three blocks, stopped to catch his breath, then started running again.

As part of the FBI sting, five of the seven bankers agreed to help the undercover agent launder hundreds of thousands of dollars in purported drug money, according to court records. Three of the seven bankers have received prison terms of up to 50 months, while the remaining four are awaiting sentencing.

And here’s another lawyer not reported for financial fraud by taking advantage of former NFL Players in Florida by stealing, in many instances, their life savings and retirement funds.

The other people arrested were Palm Beach Business Consultants clients seeking to get loans or lines of credit. Among them were Correa, who had been a longtime reserve Broward Sheriff’s deputy, and Jeanne Ward, who had been an investigative aide with the Broward Sheriff’s Office for 13 years.

Ward and her ex-husband Terrance Ward have pleaded guilty to fraud and identity theft charges, admitting she illegally used a law enforcement database to pilfer people’s identities to get lines of credit. Both are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 9.

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Bankers

When the World’s Bankers and Governments Are Behavin’ Like Thieves and Criminals, It Really Is Time to Object, Vociferously

The appalling greed and corruption is playing out live since 2008 and without any accountability to the people. One Percenters are completely immune and laughing At You.

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Ukrainian who made appearance in Trump impeachment saga accused by U.S. of stealing, laundering billions

AUG 6, 2020 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

The Justice Department on Thursday accused a Ukrainian oligarch who has been considered an ally of Ukraine’s president of stealing billions of dollars from a bank he once owned, then using a vast array of companies to launder that money in the United States and all over the world.

In a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to seize commercial properties in Kentucky and Texas, the Justice Department alleged that Ihor Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov, stole so much from PrivatBank that Ukraine’s national bank had to give the institution a $5.5 billion bailout “to stave off economic crisis for the whole country.”

Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, has ties to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and he played a role in the events that led to President Trump’s impeachment last year. He made a fortune in the rough-and-tumble capitalism that swept Ukraine after the Soviet Union’s collapse, amassing assets including airlines and financial institutions, and created a larger-than-life image for himself, going by the nickname “Benya,” and keeping a shark aquarium in his office.

Kolomoisky and Boholiubov were the two major owners of PrivatBank before it was nationalized in response to the fraud, the Justice Department said, and the men basically used it as a personal account to build a business empire in the United States. They requested money from PrivatBank — which they always received because they were owners — then moved the funds through a network of companies to “thoroughly disguise their nature, source, ownership, and control,” the Justice Department alleged.

Experts have expressed increasing concern that U.S. real estate — including factories and facilities important to American industry — has become a magnet for foreign money, including proceeds of criminal activities abroad. Among Kolomoisky’s and Boholiubov’s purchases were more than 5 million square feet of commercial real estate in Ohio; steel plants in Kentucky, West Virginia and Michigan; a cellphone manufacturing plant in Illinois; and commercial real estate in Texas, the Justice Department alleged. The forfeiture complaints sought to seize a roughly 19.5-acre office park in Dallas and the PNC Plaza building in Louisville.

Michael J. Sullivan, a lawyer for Kolomoisky, said in an email: “Mr. Kolomoisky emphatically denies the allegations in the complaints filed by the Department of Justice.” The allegations, which are not criminal charges, are similar to those in a lawsuit filed by the bank in a Delaware court. A lawyer for Boholiubov did not reply to an email seeking comment.

In a statement written in Russian, Kolomoisky said all the money used to purchase the U.S. properties was his own, received through a deal made with a mining company in 2007 and 2008 and from other businesses that banked with Privatbank.

Kolomoisky also has long been facing a criminal probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland for possible money laundering. As a part of that case, the FBI raided the office of Optima Management Group in downtown Cleveland on Tuesday, as well as an Optima office in the Southeast Financial Center building in Miami.

In court documents, the Justice Department alleged Thursday that two Miami-based business associates of Kolomoisky and Boholiubov’s — Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber — helped acquire and manage the oligarchs’ holdings in the United States, which often bear some version of the name “Optima.” Optima Ventures at one point became the “largest holder of commercial real estate in Cleveland,” using stolen funds to buy major downtown office buildings and a hotel, the Justice Department alleged.

Last year, Marc Kasowitz, a New York lawyer who also represents Trump, signed on to represent Kolomoisky and Boholiubov in the Delaware case. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Under Ukraine’s last president, Petro Poroshenko, the government nationalized Privatbank, alleging that Kolomoisky and one of his business partners had defrauded the bank of billions of dollars. Kolomoisky denied those charges but decamped from Kyiv to Israel, where he also holds citizenship. He retained political power in Ukraine through his business holdings, which include a major Ukrainian television station.

Kolomoisky is seen as an ally to Zelensky, who was an actor before his election, starring in a comedy show that aired on Kolomoisky’s network. Zelensky’s election was widely seen as a boon for Kolomoisky, particularly after the new president made Kolomoisky’s personal lawyer the head of his administration. Some in the United States were suspicious of Zelensky’s ties to the mogul, thinking the connection ran counter to Zelensky’s promises to pursue an anti-corruption and reformist agenda.

Since then, however, Zelensky has not supported returning control of Privatbank to the oligarch, and he fired that top aide. Still, Kolomoisky has been comfortable enough with Ukraine’s current leadership that he returned from a self-imposed exile in Tel Aviv and is again based in Kyiv, where he maintains connections to members of the presidential administration.

In spring 2019, when Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani embarked on a mission to press Zelensky to assist Trump by opening politically charged investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Giuliani’s associates met with Kolomoisky to request that Giuliani get a sit-down with the rising Ukrainian politician.

Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman met with Kolomoisky in April 2019 in Tel Aviv, and, by all accounts, the meeting did not go well.

Giuliani associates claimed to have sway with both foreign billionaires and Trump administration officials

After the meeting, the two ­Florida-based business executives accused Kolomoisky of physically threatening them and filed a lawsuit against him in Ukraine. Parnas and Fruman, who assisted Giuliani in his Ukraine project, were charged in the United States with campaign finance violations last year. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Giuliani has said he provided legal advice to Parnas and Fruman in their fight against Kolomoisky. He also tweeted repeatedly about his displeasure with Kolomoisky in May 2019 just as he was pressuring Zelensky to assist Trump with a Biden investigation. At one point, Giuliani complained that Zelensky was being advised by “Kolomoisky’s representatives and enemies of President Trump.”

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Kolomoisky has told The Post that during the Tel Aviv meeting, Parnas and Fruman claimed that they could get top U.S. officials, including Vice President Pence and then-Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to travel to Ukraine around the time of Zelensky’s May 2019 inauguration — if Kolomoisky paid them several hundred thousand dollars. Kolomoisky did not pay the money, instead throwing the two men out of his office, his lawyer has said.

The attorney, Bruce Marks, told The Post that Kolomoisky had predicted to friends at the time: “This is going to end up in a bad scandal.”

Ukraine arrests ex-PrivatBank official as U.S. prioritizes criminal probe of former owners

FEB 26, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

The National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has arrested the former deputy chairman of a Ukrainian bank at the heart of an FBI criminal investigation as he attempted to fly abroad in the latest sign Kyiv is taking steps to tackle corruption and lawlessness.

Volodymyr Yatsenko was detained at Boryspil Airport in Kyiv on February 22 after investigators forced the pilot of the private jet he was traveling on to land, the bureau announced in a tweet.

Mr. Yatsenko, who was on his way to Vienna after reportedly being tipped off about his arrest, was charged with the embezzlement of funds at PrivatBank, once the nation’s largest lender.

More arrests of management could follow, the Kyiv Post reported.

The FBI is investigating the two owners of PrivatBank – Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov – in connection with accusations that more than $5 billion was stolen from the lender through fraudulent loans and that the money was then laundered.

In a move that made international headlines, Ukraine was forced to nationalize PrivatBank in 2016 and pump more than $5 billion into the lender in order to stave off its bankruptcy.

The U.S. accuses Messrs. Kolomoisky and Boholiubov of using some of the laundered proceeds to buy assets in the U. S., ranging from metals companies to commercial properties, with the help of two American associates based in Miami.

The Justice Department last year filed three civil forfeiture lawsuits in a Florida court against a U.S. real estate holding controlled by the two tycoons and run by the associates.

However, a judge agreed last week with a Justice Department request to temporarily suspend the civil forfeiture proceedings amid concerns it could harm the criminal investigation against the Ukrainian businessmen and their two American partners.

“Allowing [the tycoons] to conduct discovery would expose the identities of witnesses who have provided and will provide information and testimony in both the civil forfeiture actions and the criminal investigation,” the Justice Department said in its February 19 filing.

“If that occurs, the confidential informants may cease providing information, and, to the extent they are not reachable through process in the United States, they may make themselves unavailable for future testimony. Potential sources of information who have not yet been interviewed by the government would likely be deterred from coming forward” the Justice Department said in its filing.

The tycoons deny the accusations and neither Ukraine nor the United States has filed criminal charges against them.

Mr. Kolomoisky is one of the most influential tycoons in Ukraine and the U.S. government’s investigation into his activities is being closely followed.

The billionaire owns key media, energy, and metals assets and is believed to have outsized influence over the administration of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Mr. Kolomoisky’s TV stations backed Mr. Zelenskyy’s successful presidential bid.

The U.S., one of Ukraine’s biggest backers financially and militarily, has repeatedly expressed concern about oligarchic influence over the nation’s government and economy.

Washington has also complained about the lack of investigations into corrupt tycoons and officials and has tied some aid to improvements in judicial reform.

The arrest of Mr. Yatsenko, who was flying on a private plane owned by Mr. Kolomoisky, is the latest in a series of moves by Kyiv to tackle cases that resonate with the U.S.

Mr. Zelenskyy last week approved sanctions on Viktor Medvedchuk, a tycoon and lawmaker with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Medvedchuk was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2014 for undermining democracy in Ukraine.

On February 2, Mr. Zelenskyy sanctioned three television stations believed to be owned by Mr. Medvedchuk. In late January he announced an investigation into Ukrainian individuals accused of interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential elections.

The moves come after President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20. Mr. Biden knows Ukraine well, having served as the point man to Kyiv while serving as vice president from 2009 to 2017.

Political analysts say Mr. Zelenskyy is seeking to win over the Biden administration after a difficult relationship with the Trump administration caused by the 2019 impeachment investigation.

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Bankers

In 2008 Two Ukrainians Would Plan to Steal over $5.5B from their Private Bank and Launder Wads Via Miami

The DOJ Press Release combined with the 11th Cir. opinion and district court cases in Southern Fl. are well worth the read if you want to learn about power, politics, corruption to avoid jail.

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United States Files Civil Forfeiture Complaint for Proceeds of Alleged Fraud and Theft from PrivatBank in Ukraine

JAN 20, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

The United States filed a civil forfeiture complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging that more than $6 million in proceeds from the sale of commercial real estate in Dallas, Texas, which property was maintained and improved using the proceeds of embezzlement and fraud from PrivatBank in Ukraine, are subject to forfeiture based on violations of federal money laundering statutes.

This civil forfeiture action is the fourth such action filed in connection with the same alleged criminal activity.

In August 2020, the United States filed two actions in the Southern District of Florida alleging that commercial real estate in Dallas and Louisville, Kentucky, was acquired using funds illegally obtained from PrivatBank in Ukraine as part of a multibillion-dollar fraudulent loan scheme.

It filed a third suit in the same district in December 2020 alleging a property in Cleveland, Ohio, was similarly involved.

The four complaints allege that Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov, who owned PrivatBank, one of the largest banks in Ukraine, embezzled and defrauded the bank of billions of dollars.

The two allegedly obtained fraudulent loans and lines of credit from approximately 2008 through 2016, when the scheme was uncovered and the bank was nationalized by the National Bank of Ukraine.

The complaints allege that they laundered a portion of the criminal proceeds using an array of shell companies’ bank accounts, primarily at PrivatBank’s Cyprus branch, before they transferred the funds to the United States.

As alleged in the complaints, Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, who were associates of Kolomoisky and Boholiubov operating out of offices in Miami, created a web of entities, usually under some variation of the name “Optima,” to further launder the misappropriated funds.

They purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in real estate and businesses across the country, including commercial towers located at 8787 North Stemmons Freeway in Dallas (Stemmons Towers), which are the subject of this action, as well as the office tower known as 55 Public Square in Cleveland, a Louisville office tower known as PNC Plaza, and a Dallas office park known as the former CompuCom Headquarters.

The newest action alleges that several of the Optima entities, including Optima Ventures LLC, Optima 7171 LLC and Optima Stemmons LLC, used profits from the CompuCom Campus, which had originally been purchased using embezzled funds from PrivatBank, to pay for the improvement and maintenance of Stemmons Towers.

Optima Stemmons then sold Stemmons Towers in 2019 using a seller financing agreement, under which more than $6 million in principal and interest is still owed to a specially-created entity owned by Optima Ventures named 87STE LLC.

The United States seeks to forfeit the promissory note and deed of trust related to that financing agreement, which includes the right to receive payments due pursuant to the deed and its associated sales contract.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office made the announcement.

FBI’s Cleveland Field Office is investigating the case with support from FBI’s International Corruption Unit and IRS Criminal Investigation.

Trial Attorneys Shai D. Bronshtein and Rachel Goldstein of the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section are handling these cases.

The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs has provided substantial assistance in the investigation.

The Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative is led by a team of dedicated prosecutors in the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, in partnership with federal law enforcement agencies, and often with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, who work to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption and, where appropriate, to use those recovered assets to benefit the people harmed by these acts of corruption and abuse of office.

In 2015, the FBI formed International Corruption Squads across the country to address national and international implications of foreign corruption. Individuals with information about possible proceeds of foreign corruption located in or laundered through the United States should contact federal law enforcement or send an email to kleptocracy@usdoj.gov or https://tips.fbi.gov/.

A civil complaint is merely an allegation, and the government has the burden of establishing that assets are subject to forfeiture by a preponderance of the evidence.

Attachment(s):
Download PrivatBank Stemmons Complaint.pdf

Topic(s):
Financial Fraud
Component(s):
Criminal Division
Criminal – Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section
Press Release Number:
22-47

United States v. The Promissory Note With a Principal Amount of $5.7 Million, Executed on December 19, 2019 by 8787 Ricchi, LLC, Payable to 87STE Lending LLC

(1:22-cv-20238)

District Court, S.D. Florida

 

Howard Milton Srebnick
Robert Tully Dunlap
Black Srebnick, P.A.
201 S Biscayne Blvd
Ste 1300
Miami, FL 33131

Shai Bronshtein
U.S. Department of Justice,
Criminal Division,
Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section
1400 New York Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20005

In the United States Court of Appeals
For the Eleventh Circuit

[DO NOT PUBLISH – SURE!]

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
versus
REAL PROPERTY LOCATED AT 55 PUBLIC SQUARE, CLEVELAND, OHIO, URIEL LABER, et al.,

MAY 17, 2022 | REPUBLISHED BY LIT: MAY 17, 2022

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida

D.C. Docket Nos. 1:20-cv-23278-MGC, 1:20-cv-25313-MGC

Before ROSENBAUM, JILL PRYOR, and GRANT, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM

This case arises out of an in rem civil-forfeiture action filed by the government against an office building in Cleveland, Ohio, allegedly bought as part of an international money-laundering scheme.

When the government filed its complaint, the building was under contract to be sold by the building’s owners (and alleged money-launderers) to an unaffiliated third party.

The government agreed to go forward with the sale while the forfeiture case proceeded, and it filed a motion requesting the court’s approval for an uncontested interlocutory sale under Rule G(7)(b) of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture.

The court authorized the sale, which closed in February 2021, and the sale proceeds were substituted for the building as the res in the forfeiture proceeding.

Appellant Law Offices of Cleveland (“Cleveland Law”), a tenant at the office building and a claimant in the forfeiture case, timely appealed the interlocutory sale order, seeking to set aside the sale as “void” for lack of compliance with, in its view, necessary procedural requirements.

After careful review, we conclude that Cleveland Law was not harmed by and so lacks standing to appeal the sale order.

We therefore dismiss the appeal.

I.

In December 2020, the United States filed an in rem civil- forfeiture action against the building located at 55 Public Square in Cleveland, Ohio.

In essence, the complaint alleged that 55 Public Square was purchased as part of a scheme to launder hundreds of millions of dollars misappropriated from PrivatBank, a Ukrainian bank, by two Ukrainian oligarchs, Ihor Kolomoisky and Gennadiy Boholiubov.

The government filed two other forfeiture actions arising out of the same scheme.

Several individuals and businesses claimed an interest in 55 Public Square.

On January 19, 2021, four entities and persons allegedly involved in the money-laundering scheme filed claims:

Optima 55 Public Square LLC, the record owner of the building;

Optima Ventures LLC, which owned Optima 55 Public Square;

and

Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber, who partially owned Optima Ventures (collectively, the Optima entities).

On January 26, 2021, Cleveland Law, a tenant at 55 Public Square that subleases office space to small law firms and solo practitioners, filed a claim asserting a leasehold interest in the property.

A few days later, several other claimants who had been in litigation against the Optima entities filed a joint claim.

On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, the district court held a status hearing, at which counsel for Cleveland Law was present.

At the hearing, counsel for the Optima entities stated that there was “an anticipated closing on the sale of [55 Public Square] scheduled for … this week,” and that the funds from the sale would be held pending the outcome of the litigation.

The court asked the government if it objected, and counsel for the government responded that it did not object and would soon file a motion to approve the sale.

At no point during the hearing did counsel for Cleveland Law raise an objection to the sale.

Later that same day, the government filed an “Agreed Mo- tion to Authorize Interlocutory Sale” under 18 U.S.C. § 981(a)(1) and Supplemental Rule G(7), with supporting documentary evidence.

In certain circumstances, Supplemental Rule G(7) permits the district court to authorize the sale of real property before the forfeiture case is resolved.

Supp. Rule G(7)(b).

Ordinarily, such a sale “is governed by 28 U.S.C. §[] 2001,” among other provisions, which requires notice, a hearing, and appraisals before the court may approve a private sale.

Supp. Rule G(7)(b)(iii); 28 U.S.C. § 2001(b).

But the court may use other procedures for the sale if “all parties . . . agree to the sale, aspects of the sale, or different procedures.”

Supp. Rule G(7)(b)(iii).

Once the sale closes, the “[s]ale proceeds are a substitute res subject to forfeiture in place of the property that was sold.”

Supp. Rule G(7)(b)(iv).

The government’s motion sought the district court’s approval to proceed with the sale under the terms of the private purchase agreement, and without regard to § 2001, by agreement of the parties.

The government’s evidence showed that, before the forfeiture action, Optima 55 Public Square had entered into a contract with KD 55 Public Square LLC to sell the office building for approximately $17 million.

At that time, the building was in foreclosure and subject to outstanding taxes and penalties.

The government agreed to the sale because the buyer had no affiliation with the Optima entities and, in its view, a “prompt sale [was] the only way to protect the value of the equity in the building.”

According to a copy of the purchase agreement submitted by the government, the sale included the transfer of all leases at 55 Public Square, including “any and all amendments, modifications or supplements.”

The buyer further agreed to “assume[] and . . .be bound by and to perform and observe all of the obligations, covenants, terms and conditions to be performed or observed under the Assigned Property.”

It appears, in other words, that the buyer assumed and agreed to be bound by all existing leases without alteration.

On February 10, 2021, one day after the government filed its motion, Cleveland Law answered the forfeiture complaint.

That filing did not suggest any opposition to the sale.

Rather, Cleveland Law stated that, as an “innocent owner” of a leasehold interest under 18 U.S.C. § 983(d)(6), its permissible remedies included com- pensation “to the extent of Claimant’s ownership interest once a final order of forfeiture has been entered and the property has been reduced to liquid assets.”

The next day, February 11, 2021, the district court granted the “unopposed” motion to approve the interlocutory sale according to the terms of the purchase agreement.

In the weeks that followed, Cleveland Law did not submit any filing to prevent the sale from occurring.

Instead, after the sale closed, Cleveland Law filed a notice of appeal of the sale order on March 1, 2021.1

1 The parties agree, as do we, that an interlocutory order authorizing the immediate sale of real property in a forfeiture case is a collateral order subject to immediate appeal.

See, e.g., United States v. Real Prop. & Residence Located at 4816 Chaffey Lane, 699 3d 956, 959 (6th Cir. 2012)

(exercising jurisdiction over an interlocutory sale order in a forfeiture case under the collateral-order doctrine).

Cf. Citibank, N.A. v. Data Lease Fin. Corp., 645 F.2d 333, 336–38 (5th Cir. May 1981)

(holding that “an order in a foreclosure proceeding that directs the immediate sale of specified property is in all respects a final order for purposes of appeal.”)

II.

Cleveland Law maintains that the private sale of 55 Public Square was “governed by” § 2001 because “all parties” did not “agree to the sale or different procedures” under Supplemental Rule G(7). It notes that the government never sought or obtained its agreement to the sale, despite its status as a claimant in the forfeiture case.

And it contends that the failure to comply with § 2001’s notice, hearing, and appraisal requirements rendered the sale “void” under the former Fifth Circuit’s decision in Acadia Land Co. v. Horuff, 110 F.2d 354, 355 (5th Cir. 1940)

(holding that the failure to comply with statutory notice, hearing, and appraisal requirements rendered a private sale “void because the court was lacking in jurisdiction to confirm it”).2

The government responds that Cleveland Law tacitly agreed to the sale or waived the issue by failing to object below, and that the appeal is moot because the sale to a good-faith purchaser cannot be undone.

It further argues that Cleveland Law was not actually harmed by the sale order, and that the sale would have gone forward in the same way had the government simply waited to initiate a forfeiture case until the sale closed.

Cleveland Law replies that it lacked a meaningful opportunity to object and that this Court can still grant effective relief.

2This Court adopted as binding precedent all Fifth Circuit decisions prior to October 1, Bonner v. City of Prichard, 661 F.2d 1206, 1209 (11th Cir. 1981) (en banc).

III.

After this case was fully briefed, we asked the parties to submit supplemental briefs addressing Cleveland Law’s standing to appeal the interlocutory sale order.

Because standing implicates our jurisdiction, “we are obliged to consider standing sua sponte,” reviewing de novo.

AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Nat’l Ass’n for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc., 494 F.3d 1356, 1359–60 (11th Cir. 2007).

“Litigants must establish their standing not only to bring claims, but also to appeal judgments.”

Wolff v. Cash 4 Titles, 351 F.3d 1348, 1353 (11th Cir. 2003).

“To have appellate standing, a litigant must establish that he has suffered a concrete and particularized injury that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct, and is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision.”

United States v. Pavlenko, 921 F.3d 1286, 1289 (11th Cir. 2019).

The injury requirement means that “the appealed order must affect the litigant’s interests in an adverse way.”

Id.; see Knight v. State, 14 F.3d 1534, 1556 (11th Cir. 1994).

In other words, “

[o]nly a litigant who is aggrieved by the judgment or order may appeal.”

Wolff, 351 F.3d at 1354 (cleaned up).

Cleveland Law says it has standing because the sale order “modified [its] ownership interest in the property,” “disrupted its business operations,” and violated its due-process rights in the forfeiture proceeding.

It asserts that, while the sale order “purportedly” transferred its lease agreement, the order “fail[ed] to ensure all lease provisions went undisturbed.”

After the sale closed, according to Cleveland Law, the buyer attempted to terminate the lease agreement and then began converting the building to residential housing, causing significant disruption and violating a lease provision that limited use of the building to commercial purposes only.

The government responds that Cleveland Law lacks standing because the sale order kept Cleveland Law’s rights and remedies under the lease fully intact.

In the government’s view, Cleveland Law’s problems with its new landlord stem from the independent actions of a third party, not the sale order itself, and are “outside the ambit of this case.”

It notes that the court abandoned jurisdiction over the building once the sale proceeds were substituted for the building as the res.

It also contends that Cleveland Law received due process and was not prejudiced by any procedural deprivation because even if due process as Cleveland Law envisions it was entitled to had been afforded, the same result would have occurred.

Cleveland Law replies that the Supreme Court has rejected similar reasoning.

We agree with the government that Cleveland Law lacks standing to appeal.

The sale order did not adversely affect Cleveland Law’s leasehold interest in the property.

That order permitted the sale to go forward under the terms of the purchase agreement, which transferred all existing leases to the buyer.

The record contradicts Cleveland Law’s claim that the sale order failed to incorporate addenda to its lease or to document a few other lease provisions.

Under the purchase agreement, the lease transfer included “any and all amendments, modifications or supplements” to leases, and the buyer “agree[d] to be bound by and to perform and observe all of the obligations, covenants, terms and conditions to be performed or observed.”

So while Cleveland Law’s landlord changed, its lease did not.

Indeed, Cleveland Law did not raise any objection to the sale until after it had closed, indicating that its problem was with the new landlord, not the sale itself.

Cleveland Law therefore has not shown that the sale order affected its property interests in an adverse way.

See Pavlenko, 921 F.3d at 1289.

Nor are Cleveland Law’s grievances with its new landlord sufficient to provide standing to appeal the sale order.

To be sure, Cleveland Law appears to have been injured by the new landlord’s attempt to terminate the lease and disruptive renovations for residential housing, alleged to be in violation of a lease provision limiting use of the building to commercial purposes only.

But those injuries were caused by “the independent action of some third party not before the court,” and are not fairly traceable to the sale order itself.

See United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 744, 757 (2013)

(“[T]he injury has to be fairly traceable to the challenged action , and not the result of the independent action of
some third party not before the court.” (cleaned up)).

The sale order did not affect Cleveland Law’s property interest or authorize the buyer to take the actions of which Cleveland Law complains.

And Cleveland Law’s injuries to its use and enjoyment of the property are redressable through an action against that third party.

Cleveland Law fails to explain how undoing the sale and requiring additional procedures under § 2001, related to ensuring a fair sale price, would remedy these injuries.3

See Pavlenko, 921 F.3d at 1289.

3 In its initial briefing, Cleveland Law also cited the protection of 18 U.S.C.§ 985, which states that “the owners or occupants of the real property shall not be evicted from, or otherwise deprived of the use and enjoyment of, real property that is the subject of a pending forfeiture action.”

But as the government points out, that protection “does not apply to forfeitures of the proceeds of the sale of [real property or interests in real property].”

18 U.S.C. § 985(f)(2).

In other words, § 985 no longer applied once the sale of the property closed and the proceeds were substituted as the res.

Finally, Cleveland Law’s alleged due-process injury is not enough on its own to create standing to appeal.

Because Cleveland Law has not shown that the sale order adversely affected its property interest in 55 Public Square, it likewise has not shown that it was harmed by any procedural deficiencies in relation to that order.

For these reasons, we conclude that Cleveland Law lacks standing to appeal the district court’s order authorizing the interlocutory sale of 55 Public Square.

We therefore dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.4

DISMISSED.

4 The government’s motion for summary affirmance or to dismiss on grounds of mootness is DENIED AS MOOT.

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Editors Choice

The Millionaire Beach Bum Series: Jordan Weinkle as Capt’n of Charlie Mike Fishing

Public Warning: Disbarred Florida Lawyer Jordan Weinkle stole millions of dolllars but there was no criminal prosecution of him or law partner Brian Abergel.

Published

on

Captain Jordan Weinkle Ain’t Off the Hook at LIF, despite enjoyin’ life in Miami when he should be Incarcerated for Theft of Millions of Dollars

And we’ve been receiving tips that Weinkle hasn’t stopped his deviousness and thievin’ tendencies. He’s a menace to society.

MAY 15, 2022
Images from the Gallery Show Jordan and Marissa (replacing the ex-wife, Natalie Goldstein). The company, Charlie Mike Fishing LLC is registered at a known address for Marissa Carvajal.

From Weinkle’s website

Capt. Jordan Weinkle

Captain Jordan Weinkle is a third generation Miami Beach local.

As a professional fishing guide, he is well rounded and offers a verity of options in order to accommodate everyone from the most hardcore anglers and to families taking their kids fishing for the first time.

Whether you are interested in catching your first Permit on light-tackle in Biscayne Bay, kite fishing for sailfish offshore, searching the tannic waters of the Caloosahatchee River in SW Florida for bull redfish and monster snook, or fresh-water fishing the canals and lakes of Miami-Dade or Broward County for peacock bass using artificial lures, Capt. will put you on the fish.

While he can’t guarantee the fish of a lifetime on a trip, you are absolutely guaranteed a professional experience. Capt. have a plan in place to catch your target species, will be prepared, and will ensure a safe and memorable day on the water.

Our Boats

Fish aboard our beautiful custom 25 foot Dusky was repowered in 2021 by our friends at Black Knight Customs. This custom 25, powered by a single Yamaha 250, is rigged with the most top of the line electronics to help find the fish.

Everything on the boat, from live well plumbing, battery system, outriggers, rod holders, and fish box this boat was built to be a fishing machine. The hull design and weight of our 25 Dusky allows us to fish in relatively rough seas offshore without compromising safety or comfort.

This tank is perfect for offshore or to fish the bay in comfort. This versatile boat gives us the opportunity to chase almost every game fish South Florida has to offer.

Our second boat is a 19 foot Scout Bay Boat. This is the ideal boat for targeting species such as Snook, Tarpon, Redfish, Permit, Sea Trout, Mangrove Snapper, Peacock Bass, Clown Knife Fish, and more in the Rivers, Bays, Lakes, and Estuaries abundant throughout our region in South Florida.

Rates (How Much is Going towards Restitution of Client Monies?)

Freshwater Charter (2 people*)

Duration: 4 hours

Price: $350

Biscayne Bay Inshore Charter (4 People**)

Duration: 4 hours

Price: $400

Biscayne Bay Inshore Charter (4 People**)

Duration: 8 Hours

Price: $600

Caloosahatchee River Inshore Charter (2 people*)

Duration: 6 hours

Price: $550

Night Time Grouper & Snapper Charter (4 people**)

Duration: 5 hours

Price: $450

Offshore Charter (4 people**)

Duration: 8 hours

Price: $750

Night Time Swordfish Charter (4 people**)

Duration: 8 hours

Price: $950

*We are happy to accommodate one junior angler (14 years old and under on date of charter) in addition to the two adults.

**We are happy to accommodate two junior anglers (14 years old and under on date of charter) in addition to the four adults.

DEPOSITS / CANCELLATIONS

20% deposit is required in order to confirm the booking

At least 5 days notice required to cancel a charter or your deposit is forfeited.

We You will be notified if charter is cancelled due to poor weather conditions and your deposit will be returned to you.

Captain Weinkle is a Disbarred Lawyer who Stole Over $6M from Clients along with Brian Abergel, Who’s in LIF’s Radar for Not Being Held Accountable by the Fl. Bar, et al

Weinkle Admitted to Florida Bar in 2015, License Surrendered in 2021. Jordan Claimed to be in the US Army Reserve. That was Another Lie.

The dedicated social media (instagram) account for WA Legal, a joint venture between Weinkle and Abergel.
The Florida Bar investigation revealed that Jordan Garrett Weinkle has never served his country, in any capacity.

Captain of Charlie Mike Fishin’ Kept $60k in Funds for Himself in this Taxing Case

The multi-million dollar Florida property and Bar complaint that LIT a fire under LIF to investigate. And investigate we have….

WA Legal, a Partnership between Brian Abergel and Jordan Weinkle Finched $3M from Investor Alpez

YOUR DONATION(S) WILL HELP US:

• Continue to provide this website, content, resources, community and help center for free to the many homeowners, residents, Texans and as we’ve expanded, people nationwide who need access without a paywall or subscription.

• Help us promote our campaign through marketing, pr, advertising and reaching out to government, law firms and anyone that will listen and can assist.

Thank you for your trust, belief and support in our conviction to help Floridian residents and citizens nationwide take back their freedom. Your Donations and your Voice are so important.



DISMISSED, CounDue, DebtEd, CLOSED

 

U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Southern District of Florida (Miami)
Bankruptcy Petition #: 21-15808-RAM

Assigned to: Robert A Mark
Chapter 7
Voluntary
No assetDebtor disposition:  Dismissed for Failure to File Information
Date filed:   06/15/2021
Date terminated:   08/11/2021
Debtor dismissed:   07/07/2021
341 meeting:   07/20/2021
Deadline for objecting to discharge:   09/20/2021

 

Debtor
Jordan Garrett Weinkle
3221 NE 165th Street
North Miami Beach, FL 33160
MIAMI-DADE-FL
SSN / ITIN: xxx-xx-0000
Tax ID / EIN: 83-2808488, 83-3170460
dba The Forum Residences, LLC
dba Tavor Management, LLC
represented by Jordan Garrett Weinkle
PRO SE
Trustee
Robert A Angueira
16 SW 1st Avenue
Miami, FL 33130
305-263-3328
U.S. Trustee
Office of the US Trustee
51 S.W. 1st Ave.
Suite 1204
Miami, FL 33130
(305) 536-7285

 

Filing Date # Docket Text
06/15/2021 1
(9 pgs)
Chapter 7 Voluntary Petition . [Fee Amount $338] (Weinkle, Jordan) (Entered: 06/15/2021)
06/15/2021 2 Meeting of Creditors to be held on 07/20/2021 at 09:00 AM by TELEPHONE [See Meeting Notice for details]. Objections to Discharge/Dischargeability due by 09/20/2021. (Weinkle, Jordan) (Entered: 06/15/2021)
06/15/2021 6
(2 pgs)
Amended Notice of Deadline to Correct Filing Deficiencies. [Deficiency Must be Cured by 6/22/2021].Statement of Social Security Number Due 6/22/2021. (Covington, Katrinka) (Entered: 07/06/2021)
06/16/2021 3
(2 pgs)
Notice of Incomplete Filings Due. . [Deficiency Must be Cured by 6/23/2021].Creditor Matrix Due: 6/23/2021. Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities and Certain Statistical Information due 6/29/2021. Schedules A-J due 6/29/2021.Statement of Financial Affairs Due 6/29/2021.Declaration Concerning Debtors Schedules Due: 6/29/2021. Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income Form 122A-1 Due: 6/29/2021. Certificate of Budget and Credit Counseling Course (Db) due 6/29/2021. Payment Advices due for Debtor 6/29/2021. [Incomplete Filings due by 6/29/2021]. (Valencia, Yamileth) (Entered: 06/16/2021)
06/16/2021 4 Meeting of Creditors Notice Withheld From Mailing Due to Creditors Matrix Deficiency.. (Re: 2 Meeting of Creditors to be held on 07/20/2021 at 09:00 AM by TELEPHONE [See Meeting Notice for details]. Objections to Discharge/Dischargeability due by 09/20/2021.) (Valencia, Yamileth) (Entered: 06/16/2021)
06/18/2021 5
(3 pgs)
BNC Certificate of Mailing (Re: 3 Notice of Incomplete Filings Due. . [Deficiency Must be Cured by 6/23/2021].Creditor Matrix Due: 6/23/2021. Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities and Certain Statistical Information due 6/29/2021. Schedules A-J due 6/29/2021.Statement of Financial Affairs Due 6/29/2021.Declaration Concerning Debtors Schedules Due: 6/29/2021. Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income Form 122A-1 Due: 6/29/2021. Certificate of Budget and Credit Counseling Course (Db) due 6/29/2021. Payment Advices due for Debtor 6/29/2021. [Incomplete Filings due by 6/29/2021].) Notice Date 06/18/2021. (Admin.) (Entered: 06/19/2021)
07/07/2021 7
(2 pgs)
Order Dismissing Case for Failure to File Creditor Matrix, Statement of Social Security Number The following additional requirements remain outstanding: Summary of Schedules, Schedules A-J, Unsworn Declaration, Statement of Financial Affairs, Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income, Db Certificate of Credit Counseling, Db Payment Advices, [Filing Fee Balance Due: $0.00] . (Barr, Ida) (Entered: 07/07/2021)
07/07/2021 8 Chapter 7 Trustee’s Report of No Distribution: I, Robert A Angueira, having been appointed trustee of the estate of the above-named debtor(s), report that this case was dismissed or converted. I have neither received any property nor paid any monies on account of this estate. I hereby certify that the chapter 7 estate of the above named debtor(s) has been fully administered through the date of conversion or dismissal. I request that I be discharged from any further duties as trustee. Key information about this case as reported in schedules filed by the debtor(s) or otherwise found in the case record: This case was pending for 0 months. Assets Abandoned (without deducting any secured claims): Not Applicable, Assets Exempt: Not Applicable, Claims Scheduled: Not Applicable, Claims Asserted: Not Applicable, Claims scheduled to be discharged without payment(without deducting the value of collateral or debts excepted from discharge): Not Applicable. Filed by Trustee Robert A Angueira. (Angueira, Robert) (Entered: 07/07/2021)
07/08/2021 9
(3 pgs)
BNC Certificate of Mailing (Re: 6 Amended Notice of Deadline to Correct Filing Deficiencies. [Deficiency Must be Cured by 6/22/2021].Statement of Social Security Number Due 6/22/2021.) Notice Date 07/08/2021. (Admin.) (Entered: 07/09/2021)
07/09/2021 10
(4 pgs)
BNC Certificate of Mailing – Order Dismissing Case (Re: 7 Order Dismissing Case for Failure to File Creditor Matrix, Statement of Social Security Number The following additional requirements remain outstanding: Summary of Schedules, Schedules A-J, Unsworn Declaration, Statement of Financial Affairs, Chapter 7 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income, Db Certificate of Credit Counseling, Db Payment Advices, [Filing Fee Balance Due: $0.00] .) Notice Date 07/09/2021. (Admin.) (Entered: 07/10/2021)
07/27/2021 11
(1 pg)
Request for Notice Filed by Creditor American Express National Bank. (Becket & Lee (SBharatia)) (Entered: 07/27/2021)
08/11/2021 12
(1 pg)
Order Discharging Trustee and Bankruptcy Case Closed. (Cohen, Diana) (Entered: 08/11/2021)
01/06/2022 13 Trustee Certification of Services Rendered Under 11 U.S.C. Section 330(e). I rendered the following service in the case and am eligible for payment under 11 U.S.C. Section 330(e): Conducted or filed a document required by rule or statute related to a meeting of creditors required by 11 U.S.C. Section 341. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. (Executed on 1/6/2022). Filed by Trustee Robert A Angueira (Re: 2 Meeting (Chapter 7)). (Angueira, Robert) (Entered: 01/06/2022)
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