A look into fraud charges against Lisa Drudi

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Historic City News has been investigating the case of a St. Augustine developer charged with felony fraud in connection with her former business, “Covenant Homes”.

While housing sales were at their peak, 57 year-old Lisa Drudi, who lives at 148 Nesmith Avenue in St. Augustine, held herself out as a builder of “affordable housing” in St. Johns County; delivering the keys to a new home for less than $100,000.

“All good things must come to an end,” one former St. Johns County employee told Historic City News — on condition of anonymity. “Drudi was a regular face around the county offices, until she got caught.”

Last week, Drudi was released from custody at the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville; after posting a $5,000 appearance bond. Since turning herself in on March 13th, Drudi has been able to get a judge to grant her “indigent status” and agree to reduction of her bail; which was originally $100,000.

Historic City News has obtained a copy of an affidavit signed February 22nd by a 32-year veteran law enforcement officer assigned to the Special Prosecution Unit of the Duval County State Attorney’s Office. The sworn statement reveals a glimpse of the information known about Drudi and her alleged fraudulent dealings.

Between April 1, 2008 and March 12, 2009, investigators say Drudi forged over fifty affidavits and partial lien waivers; then went so far as to have them fraudulently notarized. Drudi is charged with presenting the faked documents to Peoples First Community Bank for payment of draws against established construction loans.

The forgeries misrepresent that the companies who provided materials were “paid in full” by Covenant Homes — when, in truth, in excess of $46,000 was still unpaid; leaving unwary home buyers at risk to repay those debts.

The Office of Thrift Supervision closed down Peoples First Community Bank on December 18, 2009, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation was named Receiver when it was determined that the institution no longer met financial capitalization requirements.

Drudi is required to return to court on Tuesday, April 5th.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by JSO

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