Saturday, December 08, 2012

Corruption: US - Executives charged in scheme that defrauded investors of $40 million

U.S. Attorney’s Office 
Southern District of Florida
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Claudio Eleazar Osorio, a/k/a “Claudio Osorio Rodriguez,” 54, of Aventura, and Craig Stanley Toll, 64, of Pembroke Pines, were arrested today based on a federal fraud indictment. More specifically, the indictment charges the two men with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; 16 counts of substantive wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343; one count of major fraud against the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States code, Section 1031; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957; and three counts of making false statements to the a United States government agency, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001. The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances in federal court today at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman.

According to allegations in the indictment, Innovida Holdings LLC was a Florida limited liability company located in Miami Beach. Innovida manufactured fiber composite panels for the construction industry for use in the construction of residential, commercial, governmental, and other structures without the need for cement, steel, or wood. Innovida purported to be a rapidly expanding and financially strong international operation with facilities in the United States, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Angola, Tanzania, and other countries. Defendant Claudio Osorio was the president, owner, and majority shareholder of Innovida. Co-defendant Craig Toll, a licensed CPA, was the company’s chief financial officer.

According to the indictment, between March 2007 and March 2011, Osorio, Toll, and others offered and sold shareholder interests and joint-venture partnerships in Innovida to select individuals and groups, raising more than $40,000,000 from approximately 10 investors and investment groups located in the United States and other countries. Osorio, Toll, and others solicited and recruited investors by making materially false representations and concealing and omitting material facts regarding, among other things, the profitability of the company, the rates of return on investment funds, the use of investors’ funds, and the existence of a pending lucrative contract with a third-party entity. Osorio received money from investors based on these misrepresentations. In addition, Osorio used investor money for his and his co-conspirators’ personal benefit and to maintain and further the fraud scheme.

The indictment further alleges that between January 2010 and March 2011, Osorio, Toll, and others applied for and obtained a $10,000,000 loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a U.S. government agency that promotes U.S. government investments abroad to foster the development and growth of free markets. The purported purpose of the loan was to build a manufacturing facility and 500 homes in Haiti (“the Haiti project”) for displaced families in the aftermath of the January 2010 earthquake. The indictment alleges that Osorio, Toll, and others made materially false representations and omissions concerning, among other things, the profitability of Innovida, the purported use of the loan proceeds, an equity contribution to be made by Innovida, and contracts that Innovida purportedly had obtained with third-party vendors. Osorio used the OPIC loan proceeds to repay investors and for his and his co-conspirators’ personal benefit and to further the fraud scheme.

In a separate but related civil action, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint in federal court against Osorio, Toll, and Innovida alleging they defrauded investors and violated federal securities laws by portraying the company as having millions of dollars more in cash and equity than it actually did.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. Mr. Ferrer also commended the efforts of the SEC-Southeastern Region, for their cooperation and assistance during this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lois Foster-Steers.

An indictment is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at