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More Details on Fire Rescue Employee Charges

Trio Allegedly Pocketed $7 Million from Fraud

Miami, Fla. - (May 18, 2009) R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Daniel W. Auer, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Office, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, John Timoney, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, and Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade County Police Department, announce the unsealing of a fifty-nine (59) count Indictment charging three South Florida residents and a real estate brokerage corporation with participating in a long term mortgage fraud scheme designed to launder drug money. The defendants made their initial appearances in federal court on May 18, 2009, before Federal Magistrate Judge Ted E. Bandstra in Miami. Defendant Garry Souffrant was ordered detained pending trial. The Court set bond for defendants Yvonne Souffrant and Gamaliel Souffrant.

Charged in the Indictment are defendants Garry Souffrant, 33, and Yvonne Souffrant, 33, husband and wife, both of Davie, FL, Gamaliel Souffrant, a/k/a Neal Souffrant, 44, Garry Souffrant’s brother, of Pembroke Pines, FL, and Progressive Real Estate of Broward, Inc., located in Miami Lakes, FL. The defendants are charged with conspiracy, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371; conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h); mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341; and receipt of stolen bank funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2113( c). Defendants Garry and Yvonne Souffrant are also charged with making false statements to mortgage lenders, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1014. Additionally, defendant Garry Souffrant is charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846; bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344; and bank theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2113(b).

The Indictment alleges that from 2002 to 2008, defendants Garry Souffrant, Yvonne Souffrant, and Gamaliel Souffrant used Progressive Real Estate of Broward, Inc. to launder millions of dollars in drug proceeds through an extensive mortgage fraud scheme. The defendants allegedly assisted drug traffickers in purchasing homes and luxury automobiles, including a 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom. The defendants allegedly arranged for and/or acted as straw buyers on behalf of the drug traffickers. This allowed the traffickers to use their drug proceeds to purchase homes and lease automobiles, while concealing the source of the income. The defendants also allegedly diverted several million dollars of mortgage loan proceeds to continue to fund the scheme and for their personal use.

If convicted, all defendants face the following potential maximum penalties on these counts charged: 5 years for conspiracy (18 U.S.C §371); 20 years for money laundering conspiracy (18 U.S.C. §1956); 20 years for mail fraud (18 U.S.C. §1341);10 years for receipt of stolen bank funds (18 U.S.C. §2113( c)). In addition, defendant Garry and Yvonne face a possible sentence of 30 years for making false statements to mortgage lenders (18 U.S.C. §1014). Defendant Garry Souffrant faces the following additional penalties: 40 years for conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute (21 U.S. C. §846); 30 years for bank fraud (18 U.S.C. §1344); and 10 years for bank theft (18 U.S.C. §2113(b)).

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, the City of Miami Police Department, and the Miami-Dade County Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Patrick Sullivan and Todd W. Mestepey.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

SOURCE: United States Department of Justice -- Southern District of Florida

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