White Plains Developer Pleads Guilty To $58M Real Estate Fraud
Developer Michael D’Alessio has pleaded guilty to defrauding investors in a handful of his development projects and siphoning their money into shell companies he controlled.
The fraud went on for several years, Crain’s New York Business reports. D’Alessio — formerly the president and CEO of Michael Paul Enterprises — sold shares in LLC companies named after development sites in places like Manhattan, the Hamptons and Westchester.
He promised monthly interest payments and shares in the profits from the property sales, but allegedly funneled those funds into his own accounts instead. D’Alessio pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum 20-year prison term and a $250K fine.
"In typical ponzi-like fashion, D'Alessio co-mingled over $58M of investor funds and used them to cash out early investors, cover debts, and pay his own personal gambling debts," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
He also tried to hide the crimes by lying to investors about the projects, as well as using their money to pay payments to investors in separate developments, the U.S. Attorney's office said. After D'Alessio went bankrupt, he tried to hide the assets, according to Berman.
As of this year, D'Alessio sold an Upper East Side development site where he had planned to build condos.