A 31-year-old Charlotte man was sentenced to 60 months in prison this week for his role in a fraud scheme of bogus real estate investments, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.
Frank Enrique Lleras must also pay $2.7 million dollars in restitution to his victims.
Lleras was the managing member of Optimum Income Property Investments, LLC (Optimum), a real estate investment company that purported to make money for victim investors by purchasing distressed and foreclosed real estate, and then reselling or leasing those properties.
From about 2013 to about 2014, he induced more than 20 victim investors from the Dominican Republic medical community to invest approximately $3 million in the fraudulent real estate scheme.
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Court documents show that to convince his victim investors the scheme was legitimate, he provided fraudulent investment statements showing that victim investors had gained interest on their investments. Lleras also provided fabricated deeds and bogus real estate tax bill receipts, causing victim investors to believe that their funds had been used as promised and that taxes on their properties had been paid.
Contrary to promises made to investors, court documents indicate that Lleras did not invest victim investor funds but instead diverted their money to other business ventures and to support his personal lifestyle, including the purchase of expensive jewelry.
Lleras pleaded guilty in January 2016 to one count of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. He will be ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his sentence upon designation of a federal facility.
All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole. The investigation of the case was led by the FBI and USPIS. Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey F. Ellis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.