Attorney General Pam Bondi News Release
Three Charged for Defrauding Seniors out of More Than $400,000
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.––Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Office of Financial Regulation today announced criminal charges against Matthew Braun, Michael Creamer and Rebecca Gonzales for participating in an organized scheme to defraud seniors in Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.
“These defendants are charged with targeting seniors and trying to steal their hard-earned retirement money with false promises of big profits. Anyone who tries to defraud Florida seniors deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I am grateful for the hard work of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and my Office of Statewide Prosecution for investigating this case and protecting Florida’s seniors.”
The defendants allegedly preyed upon seniors in these counties, deceiving at least five individuals into investing more than $400,000 in a company called Blue Ocean Farm, a fake fish farm. As part of the scheme, defendants falsely claimed to be legally licensed to offer securities for sale in the State of Florida, issuing promissory notes to the victims in return for cash. These payments occurred on the premise that the victims’ investments would be repaid with interest once the notes came due. According to the investigation, the defendants never had any intention of paying the notes, much less in creating or investing in a fish farm.
The three defendants are charged with organized scheme to defraud, sale of unregistered securities, sale of securities by an unregistered person and securities fraud. Each of the defendants face up to 70 years in prison. The Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the case.