SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced today that a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Dennis R. Di Ricco, 56, of Portola Valley, the Chief Financial Officer of Fleetcars.com, Inc., (Fleetcars) on five counts of bank fraud and four counts of money laundering.
According to the indictment filed on July 20, 2006, and unsealed on October 17, 2006, the defendant is alleged to have planned and executed a scheme to defraud Wells Fargo Bank through false statements and money laundering. The defendant served as the CFO of Fleetcars, a business that bought large fleets of used cars from rental car companies and sold the cars in smaller lots to retail car dealers. In order to finance some of his inventory, Mr. Di Ricco obtained a revolving line of credit through Wells Fargo Bank. As a condition for making advances to Fleetcars, Wells Fargo Bank required that the cars securing the line of credit be “pre-sold” in order to be financed. Wells Fargo required documentation of both purchase and sale of cars prior to funds being advanced. Wells Fargo Bank would advance only up to 80% of the purchase price of the car.
The indictment states that between February 2001 and August 2001, Mr. Di Ricco submitted loan advance requests to Wells Fargo Bank. These requests represented that certain cars had been “pre-sold,” when, in fact, these cars were duplicates of cars for which loan advances had already been received. Mr. Di Ricco also allegedly submitted loan advance requests that falsified purchase orders and inflated the purchase price for the cars in order to obtain financing in excess of 80% of the true purchase price of the cars.
On July 2, 2001, Mr. Di Ricco notified Wells Fargo Bank that Fleetcars had ceased purchasing any additional vehicles and was in the process of selling at auction or wholesale all vehicles previously financed and that all the proceeds from the vehicles would be immediately transmitted to Wells Fargo Bank. On July 18, 2006, Mr. Di Ricco opened a Fleetcars bank account at Washington Mutual Bank, which he kept hidden from Wells Fargo. Between July 24, 2001 and August 10, 2001, Mr. Di Ricco allegedly deposited portions of proceeds from car sales financed by Wells Fargo into the Washington Mutual Bank account to hide the money from Wells Fargo.
Mr Di Ricco made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco on October 17, 2006. The defendant’s next scheduled appearance is at 2:00 on November 7, 2006 for trial setting, before Judge William Alsup.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of bank fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344 is 30 years in prison and a fine of $1,000,000. The maximum statutory penalty for each count of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956 (a)(1)(B)(i) is 10 years and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Di Ricco must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Robin Harris is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Tyle Doerr. The prosecution is the result of a multi-year investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]