Hillsborough County Resident Indicted on Bankruptcy Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Aggravated Identity Theft Charges
TAMPA, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces the return of an indictment charging David W. Griffin (44, Lutz) with one count of mail fraud, nine counts of bankruptcy fraud, two counts of making a false statement under oath during a bankruptcy proceeding, and one count of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the mail fraud charge, and up to five years on each of the bankruptcy fraud and false statement charges. A mandatory term of two years’ imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft charge would run consecutive to the other penalties imposed.
According to the indictment, Griffin operated a foreclosure rescue scheme through his companies, Bay2Bay Area Holding, LLC and Business Development Consultants, LLC. The purpose of the scheme was to obtain quitclaim or warranty deeds from distressed homeowners facing foreclosure in return for false promises to rescue their homes from foreclosure by negotiating with creditors, renting the property back to the homeowner to obtain rental income, and falsely promising that the homeowner could repurchase the property from Griffin. To maximize his rental income, it was also a purpose of the scheme to prevent creditors and guarantors, including the Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”) and the Federal Housing Administration, from pursuing lawful foreclosure and eviction actions against homeowners who had defaulted on their mortgages. This was accomplished by filing, or causing to be filed, fraudulent bankruptcies in the names of the homeowners without their knowledge or consent. These fraudulent bankruptcies generated mailings sent from the bankruptcy court to the victim homeowner via the U.S. Postal Service.
The indictment also alleges that Griffin lied under oath in sworn testimony before the Office of the United States Trustee and the bankruptcy trustee. Under penalty of perjury, Griffin stated that he had no knowledge of a bankruptcy petition filed in the name of his company, Bay2Bay Area Holding Group, when in fact, he prepared the petition and directed an individual to sign his name and file the petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Federal Housing Finance Agency—Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development—Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Chris Poor.