Operator of Real Estate Investment Scheme Pleads Guilty to Fraud Charges
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Carl Lee Ferrell, 53, of Waxhaw, N.C. appeared in court today and admitted to running a real estate investment scheme that defrauded victims of over $400,000, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Ferrell pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud before U.S. Magistrate Judge David C. Keesler.
U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in North Carolina.
According to filed court documents, from 2012 to 2016, Ferrell executed a financial scheme involving fraudulent real estate investments, that defrauded victims of over $400,000. To induce victims to invest in his scheme, Ferrell falsely told victim-investors that he was the managing member and president and CEO of Wholesale Properties International, LLC (“Wholesale Properties”), purportedly a large international real estate investment company involved in multimillion dollar investment deals, with several locations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. In reality, Wholesale Properties was run by Ferrell, his girlfriend, and another individual, from a rented home in Waxhaw, and had never consummated a million-dollar deal.
Court records also show that, to further induce victims, Ferrell created a company webpage which contained numerous false and fraudulent representations regarding the nature and scope of Wholesale Properties’ business, and created false testimonials on the website, with the Better Business Bureau, and in emails. Filed court documents reflect that when victims began demanding their money back, Ferrell made various excuses, including that “the check was in the mail,” that Wholesale Properties had been sold to another company, and that “the accounting department only sends checks out in big batches.”
Instead of investing the victims’ money as promised, Ferrell often used it to pay for personal expenditures such as rent, food, and entertainment, to pay for properties other than those in the investment agreements with the victims, and to pay other victims in Ponzi fashion.
Ferrell was released on bond following his guilty plea. The charge carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date for the defendant has not been set yet.
The investigation was led by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Vento and Dallas J. Kaplan, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte, are in charge of the prosecution.