Friday, May 5, 2017
A lawyer in hot water as told by Cleveland,com
A former Cuyahoga Falls attorney was arrested Wednesday and charged with stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from clients and friends as he tried to build a water treatment spa in the Sunshine State.
Gary Boecker, 63, is charged with wire and bank fraud. The FBI says Boecker stole money from people, in part, to pay for a business venture known as Ocean Jade Health Retreat, according to a news release.
The business is known as a "water therapy hotel" and appears to be an active and working company in the Fort Lauderdale area. Its website describes the operation as "Florida's Only Water-only Fasting/Vegan Hotel."
One of his victims said Boecker took $726,900 from him, even though the victim had only granted a $300,000 investment, the news release says. The FBI says Boecker illegally took $536,300 from bank accounts under the control of another victim.
Boecker was arrested Wednesday at Ocean Jade's office. He is in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service and is expected to be brought back to Ohio to face prosecution.
It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney. A message left for Ocean Jade was not immediately returned.
Boecker obtained his law license in 1983. He voluntarily surrendered his license in 2015 after the Ohio Disciplinary Counsel filed a case saying he took thousands of dollars from a trust for his own use and benefit, according to a criminal complaint. The Ohio Disciplinary Counsel found additional irregularities in his attorney trust account.
One victim -- a 68-year-old man -- told the FBI that he gave Boecker power of attorney to manage his bank accounts while he recuperated from a 2014 stroke. He called Boecker a close friend of his family, and "treated BOECKER as a brother and had no reason to distrust him," the complaint says.
The victim agreed to invest $300,000 in Boecker's "water therapy hotel idea" after Boecker told him he would generate a 15 percent return on his investment each year, the complaint says.
The victim visited the hotel last year and noticed that it still needed a lot work. He never received his money back, the FBI says.
Another victim met Boecker in 1993 when he hired Boecker as an attorney. He said Boecker was involved in his company, the complaint says.
Boecker asked this victim for a $238,000 personal loan in 2015. He generated a promissory note that actually asked for $40,000 more, but the victim did not "think too much about it" because he trusted Boecker, the complaint says.
Boecker then took a nearly $300,000 loan from a bank. The loan paperwork included forged signatures of the victim's name and others within his company, the FBI says.
The victim fired Boecker in June 2016 after he found out Boecker had surrendered his law license. An investigation later showed that Boecker, while employed at the victim's company, used a company credit card for non-business-related expenses, the FBI states.
The FBI says the investigation continues and is looking for more possible victims.
Hat tip to William Crosby. (Mike Frisch)