New York Man Pleads Guilty to Cape Cod Property Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 01, 2012|
BOSTON—A New York man pleaded guilty today to crimes related to property fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud a Massachusetts man of his Hyannis waterfront property.
Michael Howard Clott, a/k/a Michael Howard, 60, pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud and three counts of wire fraud. Sentencing is scheduled for December 13, 2012, at 2:30 p.m.
From December 2009 through April 2010, Clott spent several months on Cape Cod engaged in a scheme to defraud a Massachusetts man of a property he valued at more than $2.8 million. During this period, Clott was a fugitive from a federal criminal case against him in New York. Clott used the alias “Michael Howard” and represented to others that he was an attorney and financial executive who specialized in purchasing, repairing, and marketing bank-owned real estate when, in fact, Clott was none of those things. Clott, however, persuaded a local real estate broker to sell a client’s property for half the asking price and then give the sale proceeds to Clott, who would use his purported financial expertise to generate an after-tax benefit for the client equivalent to the client’s asking price. Instead of using the proceeds for the client’s benefit, Clott manipulated others to unwittingly assist in negotiating the proceeds check to enable him to deposit the funds in an account for Clott’s personal benefit. However, Clott’s scheme was discovered, and the funds were secured before Clott could further disburse or conceal them.
Clott faces up to 20 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine on each of the six counts. Under the terms of a plea agreement, the parties will recommend a sentence between 137 to 162 months, to be served concurrently with a sentence of 259 months imposed last month in the Southern District of New York.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark J. Balthazard and Veronica Lei of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit and Asset Forfeiture Unit, respectively.