August 1, 2017
On July 7, 2017, the U.S. Attorneys Eastern District of California charged Seth Adam Depiano of Clovis, California with mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Depiano operated a Ponzi scheme that lured real estate investors to give $20 million to him and the businesses he controlled, including The Rental Group, U.S. Funding and Home Services LLC, and Draymond Homes.
According to the announcement, Depiano provided fraudulent documents misrepresenting the properties’ ownership and promoted the properties to investors with documents that falsely advertised high occupancy rates, including certain properties that did not even exist. Depiano allegedly promised investors that he would use investment funds to purchase residential properties and either manage the properties for rental income or arrange for them to be renovated and resold. Instead of paying investors purported rental income, U.S. officials claim that Depiano used money from other investors to pay off the original investors.
If convicted, Depiano could serve a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison for the mail and wire fraud charges, 10 years in prison for money laundering, and a $250,000 fine.
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