Assistant United States Attorney Jay Taylor reported to Historic City News that St Augustine Beach con artist Lydia Cladek was sentenced to serve 30 years and 4 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.
US District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan also ordered Cladek to pay more than $34 million in restitution. Cladek was found guilty on January 26, 2012.
According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, Cladek offered investors the opportunity to “loan” money to Lydia Cladek, Inc., in exchange for a promissory note from the corporation.
The notes were secured by car notes that Lydia Cladek, Inc. had purchased in the past.
Cladek represented that the assigned notes were genuine and valid, had never been assigned before, and would not be assigned in the future. She also represented that she would use the funds that were loaned by the investors to purchase new car notes.
All of these representations were false.
In some cases, the car notes attached as collateral to investor notes had previously been assigned to four or five investors in the past. In many cases, the car notes were then assigned to new victim investors, sometimes in as little as a week.
In addition to making false representations about the quality of the investors’ collateral, Cladek used new investor funds to pay interest to old investors and to fund her lavish lifestyle, including three vacation homes.
By March 31, 2010, the existing performing car notes owned by Cladek had dwindled to just under $4 million, while the outstanding loans to investors exceeded $90 million.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Insurance Fraud.