Real Estate Ponzi Scheme Operator Seth DePiano Pleads Guilty To $24 Million Real Estate Scam
California real estate Ponzi scheme operator pleaded guilty on Monday to mail fraud and money laundering. Seth DePiano entered the guilty plea as part of a deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
DePiano admitted to defrauding investors of about $24 million and agreed to pay restitution to 28 investors.
He also agreed to forfeit more than $700,000 in cash seized from bank accounts. In addition, the Ponzi scheme operator also agreed to give up his extensive baseball card collection valued at more than $31,000.
DePiano faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for the mail and wire fraud charges. He also faces up to 10 years in prison for money laundering. Additionally, he faces a $250,000 fine.
The government accused DePiano operating real estate Ponzi scheme from February 2010 through June 2017. DePiano lured real estate investors into giving him and his businesses more than $20 million. He fraudulently promised investors that he would use their money to purchase distressed properties with their money. He then would either manage the properties for rental income or arrange for renovation and resale.
Prosecutors also said some of the properties DePiano marketed to investors did not even exist. DePiano paid investors “rental income” that, in fact, was money other investors had given him for investment purposes.
DePiano ran the scheme through three different entities named The Rental Group, US Funding and Home Services LLC, and Draymond Homes.
The FBI arrested DePiano in Las Vegas last July. DePiano is scheduled to be sentenced May 29 by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd
Business Street Online awarded DePiano their “40 Under 40” Award in 2012.