Jacksonville Businessman Pleads Guilty to Fraud
Jacksonville, Florida – Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that Ashish Bahl (52, Jacksonville), who also resides in Atlanta, Georgia, today pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, Bahl engaged in fraudulent business activities related to the SunTrust Bank building located near the Jacksonville Landing. From September 2005 to March 2015, the ownership of the building was structured as a business condominium governed by certain charter documents. In 2009, Parador Partners, LLC, which included Bahl as an owner, purchased a majority interest in the building. Parador owned approximately 73% of the office condos in the building, and carried an even greater share of the operating expenses. The condominium owners were members of an association called The River Watch at City Centre Condominium Association, Inc. Based upon Parador’s majority ownership of the building, Bahl controlled the board of directors for the association and was associated with the management company for the building.
Bahl significantly inflated special assessments for various building expenses and intentionally led the other condo owners to believe that the invoices they were presented were correct and accurate, when in fact, they were inflated. Bahl, with the assistance of others, made agreements with contractors to submit inflated invoices for various special assessment maintenance issues, which were paid by the condo association. Then, as part of an agreement with the contractor, the majority of the invoiced amount was provided as a “kick-back” to another one of Bahl’s companies, Dellwood Associates.
In addition to defrauding condo owners, Bahl also used River Watch’s bank account for personal expenses, including replacing an air conditioner ($5,457) in his Atlanta home, and remodeling his children’s bedroom ($7,150).
The total amount Bahl received as a result of the fraud was $135,396.06
This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Mark B. Devereaux and Assistant United States Attorney Jason P. Mehta.