A Rhode Island woman who operated a property preservation and field services business admitted in court this week that she used that business to defraud dozens of individuals out of millions of dollars by operating what amounted to a Ponzi scheme.
According to the Department of Justice, Monique Brady owned and operated a property preservation company called MNB. Brady was accused earlier this year of running the Ponzi scheme, and this week, she appeared in court and pleaded guilty to the charges.
Court documents show that Brady used the company to raise millions of dollars from investors, including family members, friends, and business associates, by misrepresenting that she needed to raise tens of thousands of dollars for various repair projects.
To convince the investors to hand over their money, Brady admitted to promising them a return of 50% of the profits from the projects.
According to the DOJ, Brady admitted to that she told potential investors that her company had secured contracts to perform large-scale rehabilitation projects on foreclosed properties in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, when in many cases, this was not true.
Court documents show that Brady told a number of investors that her company needed between $20,000 to $80,000 per project to pay subcontractors to perform work like mowing grass, changing locks, winterizing properties, boiler or electrical inspections, and snow removal on bank-owned properties.
Despite those claims, the majority of projects MNB was hired for were for less than $1,000. Many were for as little as $25 to a few hundred dollars.
According to court documents, Brady often solicited and received multiple investments for the same property.
To convince the potential investors that MNB had secured contracts for large rehabilitation projects, Brady provided fraudulent emails supposedly from a national property rehabilitation company, which claimed Brady had been approved to rehabilitate a property.
Brady also admitted to including fraudulent itemizations of work to be performed and used the identity of an actual employee of the national property rehabilitation company in an attempt to make the emails appear authentic.
Records show that of the 171 properties that Brady solicited and received funds from investors, 98 were for properties her company was never hired to preserve, nor was any actual work performed.
In return for their investment, Brady promised 31 different investors a return of 50% of the profit realized on the project they invested in, but many investors got little or no return on their investment.
By the time the scheme ended in the summer of 2018, 21 people lost approximately $4.78 million to Brady.
Many of the investors had personal relationships with Brady, including close friends, her stepbrother, and the former nanny for her children.
Other victims included three firefighters and an elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease.
As part of her guilty plea, Brady also admitted to attempting to obstruct an Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation by asking investors to delete or destroy all email correspondence, texts, and documents relating to their investments in MNB rehabilitation projects after the IRS told Brady she was under investigation.
Brady, who remains in federal custody, is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 4, 2019.
She is facing statutory penalties of up to 20 years in prison, up to five years supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the gross profit/loss on the wire fraud charge.
Brady is also facing by statutory penalties up to three years in prison, one year supervised release, and a fine of $5,000 for obstructing an IRS investigation; and statutory penalties of a two-year mandatory sentence consecutive to any other sentence imposed in this matter and one year of supervised release for aggravated identity theft.