Four Litchfield County Residents Charged and Arrested in String of Fraud Schemes
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and William P. Offord, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation in New England, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a seven-count indictment yesterday charging RYAN GEDDES, 41, of Litchfield, JASON CALABRESE, 43, of Watertown, RICHARD GEDDES, 41, of Bethlehem, and DUSTIN WHITTEN, 31, of Thomaston, with multiple conspiracies involving bank fraud, mail and wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud and obstruction of justice. The charges stem from an alleged series of fraudulent real estate and insurance transactions, and an alleged arson of a vacation home.
The four defendants were arrested this morning. They appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joan G. Margolis in New Haven and were released on bonds of varying amounts.
According to the indictment, by 2005, RYAN GEDDES had incurred several debts, including a business debt of more than $490,000 for which he was being sued. GEDDES and the other defendants then commenced a series of schemes to conceal GEDDES’s assets from creditors and to defraud various banks and insurance companies.
The indictment alleges that from 2005 through 2007, GEDDES, CALABRESE, and others prepared a series of three false mortgage loan and mortgage refinancing applications with respect to properties located at 27 Palmer Road in Morris and 669 Goshen Road in Torrington. The first transaction sought to conceal GEDDES’s ownership of the 27 Palmer Road property. The indictment further alleges that when GEDDES and others learned in 2010 of the federal investigation, they created a false, backdated document and gave it to the investigating agents in an effort to portray the first 27 Palmer Road mortgage transaction as legitimate. The indictment charges GEDDES and CALABRESE with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and GEDDES with one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice related to this scheme.
The indictment also alleges that GEDDES and others conducted a straw sale of another GEDDES property in 2010 from which they obtained title insurance after conducting a fraudulent title search. Because the search deliberately omitted to list almost a million dollars of liens against the property, the conspirators intended to plan an event that would trigger a new title search, resulting in discovery of the omitted liens, the filing of a title insurance claim, and a nearly million dollar insurance payout to the straw owner for the fraudulently omitted liens. For this scheme, GEDDES is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
The indictment further alleges that RYAN GEDDES and his brother, RICHARD GEDDES, conspired to commit bankruptcy fraud in 2010, based on the paper transfer of a home owned by RYAN GEDDES to RICHARD GEDDES, soon followed by RYAN GEDDES’s filing a bankruptcy petition in which he claimed not to own any real property. RYAN GEDDES also is charged with bankruptcy false statements for those acts.
Finally, RYAN GEDDES and WHITTEN are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, based on the paper transfer to WHITTEN of a New York vacation home property owned by GEDDES, the procurement of an insurance policy on the home in WHITTEN’s name, and the alleged arson of the home, followed by WHITTEN’s filing an insurance claim of more than $600,000 on the destroyed home.
If convicted, RYAN GEDDES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 90 years, CALABRESE faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years, RICHARD GEDDES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, and WHITTEN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Kopel and Michael Gustafson.