Former Mayor of Manalapan Arrested on Mortgage Fraud, Identity Theft, and Obstruction of Justice Charges
Indictment Alleges Former Mayor Defrauded Investment Client of $250,000 and Submitted Falsified Tax Returns in Order to Purchase Farm in Manalapan
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 07, 2014|
TRENTON, NJ—The former mayor of Manalapan, New Jersey was arrested today on charges that he submitted falsified 2007 and 2008 tax returns in order to purchase a farm property in Manalapan and that he provided federal investigators and a federal grand jury with a fabricated document in 2013, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Andrew Lucas, 36, was arrested as a result of an 11-count indictment charging him with wire fraud, illegal monetary transaction, loan application fraud, false statements to the IRS, aggravated identity theft, obstruction of a grand jury investigation, and falsification of records in a federal investigation. Lucas is scheduled to make his initial court appearance this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Arpert in Trenton federal court.
According to the indictment unsealed today:
On December 15, 2009, Lucas submitted a loan application to a New Jersey bank requesting $525,000 to finance his purchase of the Burke Farm property in Manalapan. Lucas provided the bank with falsified versions of his 2007 and 2008 tax returns, as well as a falsified version of a 2007 tax return for a relative whose name was also on the loan application. Lucas also falsely reported that he had a total of $210,000 in cash.
Lucas owned and operated Lucas Capital Advisors LLC (Lucas Capital), through which he served as an investment advisor and manager to multiple individuals. To obtain the $250,000 down payment for the property, Lucas approached Victim 1, who was a client of Lucas Capital, to pitch an investment in an entity called VLM Investments LLC (VLM). On February 15, 2010, Lucas presented a written note to Victim 1 that stated that the $250,000 investment was to be secured by “...interest in the equipment, fixtures, inventory, and accounts receivable” of VLM. However, Lucas failed to inform Victim 1 that at the time the note was signed, VLM did not exist. Lucas also failed to disclose to Victim 1 that Lucas intended to make personal use of the funds. It was not until three days later, on February 18, 2010, that Lucas created VLM by registering it with the state of New Jersey and the IRS, using the name and Social Security number of Lucas’s out-of-state relative, Victim 2, without Victim 2’s knowledge or permission.
On February 22, 2010, Lucas wired $250,000 from Victim 1’s Lucas Capital investment account to a VLM bank account that had Lucas as the only authorized signer. On March 1, 2010, Lucas withdrew this money in the form of a bank check, which he provided the next day to the closing attorney for the purchase of the Burke Farm property.
Lucas also filed tax returns for VLM for tax years 2011 and 2012, both times listing Victim 2’s name and Social Security number without Victim 2’s knowledge or permission.
Federal investigators served Lucas with subpoenas on February 7, 2013, for the records of VLM and Lucas Capital Advisors. In response, Lucas provided federal authorities with a fabricated and backdated letter purporting to be from Victim 2 concerning a transaction for the purchase of the Burke Farm property.
The counts of wire fraud and falsification of records in a federal investigation are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Loan application fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Illegal monetary transaction and obstruction of a grand jury investigation are each punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years. Each of the charges of false statements to the IRS is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory prison term of two years, to be run consecutive to any other sentence.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI Red Bank Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen; and investigators with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, for the investigation leading to today’s arrest.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Clabby of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton and Assistant U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna of the U.S. Attorney’s Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.