U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy has announced that Matthew "Beau" La Madrid has been sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes to serve to serve 120 months in federal prison term in connection with his operation of the Plus Money Premium Return Funds (PRF) and related real estate investment and mortgage fraud schemes. In addition to the prison term, La Madrid will undergo three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $23,484,171.33 in restitution, based on his convictions for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud, and bank fraud and conspiracy to launder money. He was also ordered to forfeit the proceeds he generated from these crimes, including $7 million, his interest in five parcels of real property, and the assets seized as part of related Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement actions.
Beau La Madrid was the mastermind of the principal investment scheme in which, between 2004 and 2008, he and others fraudulently solicited from PRF investors more than $39 million that they promised to invest in “covered calls” stock option trading. Instead, a substantial part of new investor funds was used to make monthly payments to earlier investors, and more than $7 million was secretly funneled to a bank account that Beau La Madrid controlled in the name of Vision Quest Investments. To mislead investors into believing that their PRF investments were profitable and intact, La Madrid sent investors monthly account statements that reported fictitious brokerage account values and trading returns. By the fall of 2007, the investors’ money was gone. Despite the collapse of Plus Money, La Madrid continued to solicit unsuspecting investors, receiving more than $1.9 million between July 30, 2007-January 2008.
“The defendant left a wake of financial devastation from which many victims will not soon recover," said U.S. Attorney Duffy. "The sentences imposed today reflect the depth of the harm done and will hopefully bring some measure of justice to the victims.”
La Madrid was also a principal in related real estate companies—Real Estate Investment Group (REIG) and E & M Property Management—which were used to fraudulently obtain from investors more than $3 million by falsely promising to secure real estate investments with promissory notes and recorded deeds of trust. In reality, the deeds of trusts were either not recorded or improperly recorded, causing victims to lose their investments when the properties purportedly securing the notes were sold or foreclosed upon. La Madrid even promised to pledge his own personal residence as security for some promissory notes. The victims were financially devastated when the notes were not properly secured and the notes went unpaid.
According to sentencing documents, La Madrid funded his Ponzi and real estate fraud schemes by fraudulently securing mortgage loans, for duping borrowers into investing almost $5 million of their loan proceeds in PRF and REIG/E&M promissory note investments. At least 94 fraudulent loan applications were submitted to obtain more than $34 million in loans. Among other things, the fraudulent loan applications listed false employers, incomes, false and inflated assets, and misrepresented that borrowers would occupy the residences when they actually were intended as the defendants’ investment property. Based on these misrepresentations and others, financial institutions and other lenders funded the loans and eventually lost more than $6.8 million once the La Madrid schemes came to light. By contrast, La Madrid collected more than $760,000 in loan commissions and $250,000 in real estate commissions from fraudulent mortgage/real estate transactions.
In total, La Madrid cheated more than 300 victims out of more than $26 million. Beau La Madrid spent more than $786,000 of his crime proceeds supporting his lavish life style, which included purchasing luxury vehicles, jewelry, and art; vacationing; and gambling.