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California and Ontario Men Bilk Investors In $90M Investment Resort Scheme

Chad M. Kohler, Esq.

Rancho Santa Fe Man and Alleged Co-Conspirator Charged with Defrauding Investors Out of More Than $90M in Resort Investment Scheme

James B. Catledge, of Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Derek F.C. Elliott, of Orangeville, Ontario, have been charged with fraudulently soliciting more than $90 million from investors. The men allegedly said the money would go toward building a resort in the Dominican Republic. Authorities, however, say renovations on the resort were never completed and the resort never opened.

According to the indictment, Catledge and Elliott purchased an old hotel in the Dominican Republic with a bank loan. Once they began renovations, they also began to solicit investments in the project. They raised approximately $91.3 million, according to authorities.

The indictment alleges that the men misled investors in their sales pitch. Specifically, Catledge and Elliott are accused of failing to tell investors that the hotel’s renovations were underfunded and that the promised returns could not be achieved. They also allegedly failed to mention that only about $13.4 million of the funds collected were being used for renovations on the resort. The men allegedly diverted the remainder to pay commissions and other payments, and for use on other projects.

Each man has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and three counts of mail fraud. Each count carries a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, as well as a substantial fine and an order of restitution. Catledge’s arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 5. Elliott’s arraignment has not yet been scheduled. For additional information, read the U.S. Attorney’s Office press release here.

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