Truesee's Daily Wonder

Truesee presents the weird, wild, wacky and world news of the day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

 

Pastor, wife arrested for mortgage fraud, drug trafficking, money laundering

Print This Article
Posted on Tue, May. 19, 2009

Pastor, wife, firefighter accused in mortgage fraud scam

BY JAY WEAVER

The mortgage fraud and money-laundering racket was a family affair, prosecutors say, led by a Miami Gardens pastor with support from his wife -- a mother of three -- and his brother, a Miami Fire Rescue captain.

An indictment unsealed Monday charged pastor Garry Souffrant, 33, wife Yvonne Souffrant, 33, and brother Gamaliel Souffrant, 43 -- all Broward County residents -- with conspiring to defraud banks and launder drug traffickers' profits to buy more than a dozen residential properties in South Florida and Georgia from 2002 to 2008.

The 59-count indictment also charged Garry Souffrant, pastor of God First Ministries in Miami Gardens and a former supervisor at Boca Raton Fire Rescue, with conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine.

Prosecutors say the family's total haul from the fraudulent activity was $7 million.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael ''Pat'' Sullivan said the alleged conspiracy grew out of a Northwest Miami-Dade cocaine organization headed by Ali Adam and Graylin Kelly, who have been convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Sullivan said all three defendants -- using a brokerage company called Progressive Real Estate of Broward as a front -- accepted large sums of cocaine profits from the drug dealers and their associates to buy homes and luxury cars, including a 2004 Rolls Royce Phantom.

According to the indictment, the defendants acted as straw buyers on behalf of the traffickers, allowing them to use their cocaine profits to purchase homes and lease automobiles while hiding the source of the dirty income.

In addition, the defendants allegedly diverted several million dollars in mortgage loan proceeds to continue to fund the scheme for their personal use -- including buying new homes in Davie and Pembroke Pines.

''They used drug money to obtain loans,'' Sullivan flatly declared at the defendants' bond hearing Monday.

He argued that Garry Souffrant should not be allowed any bond before trial, and that his wife, Yvonne, and brother, Gamaliel, should pay bail of $100,000 -- saying they were a danger to the community and flight risks.

Defense attorney Larry Handfield, representing Garry Souffrant and his wife, tried to downplay the alleged drug connection, arguing there was no direct evidence, only the words of convicted traffickers seeking lower sentences. The couple, arrested by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service last week, are scheduled to be arraigned Friday.

Attorney Herbert Walker III, representing Gamaliel Souffrant, made the same case and also entered a not-guilty plea for his client. Souffrant, who left Haiti for South Florida as a boy and attended public schools, is a lawful permanent resident. He was in New York for his son's graduation from Fordham University and returned over the weekend to surrender on Monday.

Magistrate Judge Ted E. Bandstra denied bond for Garry Souffrant, but allowed a $100,000 bail for his wife and a $50,000 bail for his brother.

A spokesman for Miami Fire Rescue said authorities informed the department of the charges against Souffrant on Monday. Fire Rescue Lt. Ignatius E. Carroll Jr. noted that the charges have ``nothing to do with his position as a fire captain.''

He also said that Souffrant would be placed on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Two of his colleagues from Miami Fire Rescue showed up at the bond hearing to support Souffrant, a firefighter for 19 years who works at headquarters.

Assistant Fire Chief Allen Joyce described Souffrant as a dedicated worker responsible for buying supplies and other services for fire stations.

''I was glad that I was here to represent him as a great worker,'' Joyce said, declining comment about the charges.

If convicted, all of the defendants face up to five years in prison on the mortgage fraud conspiracy count; 20 years for the money laundering conspiracy; 20 years for mail fraud; and 10 years for receipt of stolen bank funds.

Garry Souffrant also faces up to life in prison on the drug conspiracy charge.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

Archives

January 2021   December 2020   November 2020   October 2020   September 2020   August 2020   July 2020   June 2020   May 2020   April 2020   March 2020   February 2020   January 2020   December 2019   November 2019   October 2019   September 2019   August 2019   July 2019   June 2019   May 2019   April 2019   March 2019   February 2019   January 2019   December 2018   November 2018   October 2018   September 2018   August 2018   July 2018   June 2018   May 2018   April 2018   March 2018   February 2018   January 2018   December 2017   November 2017   October 2017   September 2017   August 2017   July 2017   June 2017   May 2017   April 2017   March 2017   February 2017   January 2017   December 2016   November 2016   October 2016   September 2016   August 2016   July 2016   June 2016   May 2016   April 2016   March 2016   February 2016   January 2016   December 2015   November 2015   October 2015   September 2015   August 2015   July 2015   June 2015   May 2015   April 2015   March 2015   February 2015   January 2015   December 2014   November 2014   October 2014   September 2014   August 2014   July 2014   June 2014   May 2014   April 2014   March 2014   February 2014   January 2014   December 2013   November 2013   October 2013   September 2013   August 2013   July 2013   June 2013   May 2013   April 2013   March 2013   February 2013   January 2013   December 2012   November 2012   October 2012   September 2012   August 2012   July 2012   June 2012   May 2012   April 2012   March 2012   February 2012   January 2012   December 2011   November 2011   October 2011   September 2011   August 2011   July 2011   June 2011   May 2011   April 2011   March 2011   February 2011   January 2011   December 2010   November 2010   October 2010   September 2010   August 2010   July 2010   June 2010   May 2010   April 2010   March 2010   February 2010   January 2010   December 2009   November 2009   October 2009   September 2009   August 2009   July 2009   June 2009   May 2009   April 2009   March 2009   February 2009   January 2009   December 2008  

Powered by Lottery PostSyndicated RSS FeedSubscribe