In news from Plano, Texas - A Dallas man has been indicted in connection with a commercial real estate investment scheme, according to U.S. District Attorney John M. Bales. At a time when trust in real estate investments is demanded, it appears trust abuses remain one of America's biggest problems for recovery.
68 year old Eric Brauss (image below) has been indicted on 10 counts for his alleged role in defrauding investors in a commercial venture. A Federal Grand Jury handed down the indictment earlier this week, alleging Brauss raised capital by using false material representations. Two large scale development projects in New Mexico and Texas drew investors to provide almost $6 million in payments to Brauss - some of the proceeds of which he supposedly used for unrelated expenditures.
Brauss faces up to 20 years in federal prison on each of the 10 counts against him. The enforcement action here is a small part of President Obama's Financial Fraud Task Force, aimed at stamping out the kinds of schemes American investors (and the whole nation) fell victim to about the time of the Great Recession. The task force includes representatives from many agencies and regulatory authorities. With state and local partners, the Federal program engages everything from cases like Mr. Brauss' to discrimination in lending.
Brauss' case is under investigation by the FBI and and other agencies, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shamoil Shipchandler. The Dallas Morning News report suggests Brauss may be living in Brazil. While investors in his various partnerships may have risked over $200 million in projects these last few years.
We will update you when more details arrive, and look at this case with great interest in the weeks to come.