Courtesy of The Miami Herald
Published December 16, 2015
Fred "Dave" Clark, founder of the defunct Cay Clubs
Resorts and Marinas that the feds say was a $300 million Ponzi scheme, was
convicted by a federal jury Friday of three counts each of bank fraud and
making a false statement to a financial institution and one of obstructing
the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by lying to the regulatory
Clark, 57, was accused of using the Tavernier-based Cay Clubs as his own
bank account, extracting $22 million from it from 2005 to 2007 and using the
money on waterfront homes, cars and planes. He founded Cay Clubs and was its
chief executive officer.
At its height, Cay Clubs had interest in dozens of businesses and employed
scores of people, who all lost their jobs as the company went down hill.
Some 1,400 investors and financial institutions lost money on Cay Clubs,
which sold condos as condo-hotel vacation units in the Keys, Clearwater and
Las Vegas and promised renovations and big payouts to the investors through
lease buy-backs. Clark's wife, Cristal, was acquitted earlier this year.
This was Dave Clark's second trial; the first ended in a mistrial when
Clark "directed his administrative assistant and his bookkeeper to forge
signatures on loan documents and falsely notarize mortgage paperwork to make
it appear family members, his significant other and other insiders listed on
paperwork were in fact executing the documents," the U.S. Attorney's Office
in Miami said. "In reality, Clark was providing the loan deposits and down
payments, directing his subordinates to execute the loan documents and then
using the proceeds of the transactions to fund Cay Clubs' operations and for
his own personal benefit."
"The defendant preyed upon trusting investors and then stole their
hard-earned money," said Kelly Jackson, special agent in charge of the
Internal Revenue Service's investigations.
Cay Clubs, founded in 2004, collapsed in 2008 when it couldn't pay
investors. Clark was arrested in Panama in June 2014 and extradited to the
United States. The U.S. Attorney's Office says Panama "expelled" him.
The government has frozen $2 million he had transferred to a Honduras bank
Two other Cay Clubs executives, Barry Graham and Ricky Lee Stokes of Fort
Myers, pleaded guilty to fraud and each received five years in prison. They
must pay back $163 million to the investors, which likely won't happen.
Clark's sentencing will be in Feb. 25 in federal court in Key West with
federal Judge Jose Martinez presiding. He faces decades in prison, where
he's been held since his arrest.