Florida businessman, sued by Bulls' Boozer for $1M, arrested for fraud
By Ben Golliver
Claudio Osorio, a Florida businessman sued last year by Bulls forward Carlos Boozer for allegedly squandering a $1 million investment into a bogus company, has been arrested on a federal fraud indictment, the FBI announced Friday.
The South Florida Business Journal reports the wire fraud and major fraud charges involved InnoVida Holdings, a company that made "fiber composite panels" that could be used to build homes in developing countries, such as Haiti.
He was once named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young and hosted President Bill Clinton at his house, but now Claudio Osorio has been arrested and charged with running a $40 million fraud.
Venezuelan-born Osorio, 54, of Aventura and his former CFO Craig Toll, 64, of Pembroke Pines were indicted on two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 16 counts of substantive wire fraud, one count of major fraud against the U.S., one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of making false statements to a U.S. government agency.
Reuters reports further details.
Osorio, who was born in Venezuela, pitched the company and its products as a possible solution to help build in developing countries affordable houses that were resistant to fire and hurricanes. InnoVida, he said, manufactured fiber composite panels that could be used to build homes and other buildings without cement, steel or wood.
Prosecutors said that Osorio defrauded investors from 2007 to 2010, exaggerating the company's finances and pocketing millions of dollars to fund a lavish lifestyle. In a statement, the SEC claimed that Osorio had illegally used investor money to pay for a Miami Beach mansion, a Maserati car and a Colorado mountain retreat home.
The Miami Herald reports that Osorio and Toll allegedly took the United States Government for a ride as well.
Osorio and Toll, the principals of a failed business venture, InnoVida Holdings, are also charged with defrauding the federal government out of $10 million in loans they were given to help finance construction of a Haitian factory to build homes for hurricane victims.
Osorio filed for bankruptcy last year and his $12 million Star Island mansion was auctioned off. As part of his Chapter 11 filing, the embattled entrepreneur promised to repay creditors and investors $50 million. The company, which once had former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as a board member, was shut down last year, and its formula for building the resin-structured housing was sold to a Brazilian firm.
Boozer, 31, has earned more than $99 million in NBA salary during a 10-year career with the Cavaliers, Jazz and Bulls. He's on the books this season for $15 million and is set to make $15.3 million in 2013-14 and $16.8 million in 2014-15.
Boozer has kept a residence in Florida for a number of years, reportedly selling one multi-million dollar Miami mansion in 2010 and buying another one earlier this year. Hat tip: @Rand_Getlin