PROVIDENCE — Former East Greenwich businesswoman Monique N. Brady, 44, whose company, MNB, specialized in preserving foreclosed homes for resale, pleaded guilty Thursday to charges associated with a $10.3 million dollar Ponzi scheme.
In an appearance before U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell Jr., Brady admitted that she fraudulently represented to potential investors that her company had secured contracts to perform large scale rehabilitation projects on foreclosed properties in Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. She solicited payments ranging from about $20,000 to $80,000, which she said would be used to pay subcontractors, according to the U.S. Attorney's office in Rhode Island.
In reality, MNB was hired by banks to perform maintenance: snow removal, mowing grass, changing locks, winterizing properties, inspecting boilers or wiring. Most of the projects were for less than $1,000. Many were for as little as $25, the U.S. attorney said.
In soliciting the investments, many for the same property, Brady offered fraudulent emails purporting to be from a national property rehabilitation company saying that her firm had been approved to rehabilitate a property. These emails included itemized details of the work and the names of property rehabilitation employees, used without their permission, to make the emails appear authentic, officials aid.
Records indicate that of the 171 properties for which Brady solicited and received funds from investors, 98 were for properties her company was never hired to preserve, on which no work was performed.
Thirty-one investors were promised a return of 50% percent of the profit. The authorities said that by the time the scheme ended with its discovery in the summer of 2018, 22 people had lost $4.78 million. The victims included friends from East Greenwich, a childhood friend and another from law school, her stepbrother, and an older woman who was essentially a nanny to her children. Other victims included three Warwick firefighters and an elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease, officials said.
Brady also admitted trying to obstruct an Internal Revenue Service criminal investigation by asking investors to delete or destroy all email correspondence, texts, and documents relating to their investments.
Brady pleaded guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and obstructing an IRS investigation, according to Aaron L. Weisman, the U.S. attorney for the District of Rhode Island. She remains in federal custody and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 4. 2019.
The case was investigated by agents from the IRS and the FBI.