Illinois Husband and Wife Sentenced for Role in $3 Million Fraud Scheme That Involved Using Art as Collateral
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 30, 2012|
DALLAS—Eugenio D. Leo and his wife, Jody L. Meyer, formerly of Allen, Texas, were sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade for their respective roles in a $3 million fraud scheme they ran from February to November 2004 that involved using art as collateral, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Leo, 31, was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $3,431,750 in restitution; he pleaded guilty in May 2012 to one count of wire fraud. Meyer, 46, was sentenced to a five-year term of probation and ordered to pay $431,750 in restitution; she pleaded guilty in May 2012 to one count of mail fraud. Both Leo and Meyer now reside in Harwood Heights, Illinois. Leo was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on November 28, 2012.
According to documents filed in the case, during the time of the fraud, Leo worked as a commodities broker at Compass Financial, a commodities brokerage firm located in Richardson, Texas. He devised a mail and wire fraud scheme that involved inducing the victims, K.P. and L.P., to invest their money by making short-term loans to museums in Europe. These loans would be secured by pieces of artwork worth significantly more than the loan value. At Leo’s request, K.P. provided a Power of Attorney to Leo so that he could make the necessary arrangements for the short-term loan. Leo falsely reported to K.P. that K.P.’s loan was repaid plus interest.
Instead of a short-term museum loan, however, Leo actually purchased art with K.P.’s money and then sold that art to K.P., never disclosing that he put himself in the purchase chain and made more than $800,000 from the sale. Leo, aided and abetted by Meyer, falsely represented that Leo owned K.P.’s artwork so that Leo could obtain a loan (using the art as collateral) from Art Capital Group for approximately $300,000.
Leo made material misrepresentations to facilitate the scheme to defraud his victims. He used his authority under a Power of Attorney from the victim to act contrary to the victim’s instructions, contrary to the victim’s best interest and for his own personal benefit. Leo and Meyer defrauded K.P. and L.P. of more than $3 million.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. U.S. Attorney Saldaña thanked Compass Financial for their assistance throughout the investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aisha Saleem, Paul Yanowitch, and Dayle Elieson prosecuted.