A Florida man has been sentenced to nine years and one month in federal prison for wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, attempted wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
The court also ordered the defendant, Keith Ingersoll, 46, Orlando, to forfeit $9,814,993.36 in proceeds traceable to the offense and ordered him to pay $12.748 million in restitution to the victims. Ingersoll had pleaded guilty on October 18, 2022.
According to court documents, in one conspiracy, Keith Ingersoll, 46, Orlando, and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained $12.7 million from a victim between 2016 and 2021.
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The co-conspirators falsely represented that the funds provided by the victim would be used as refundable deposits for specific real estate transactions, that the funds would be held in escrow by an attorney, and that the funds would be returned to the victim upon request.
Officials say the funds were sent to two conspirators who were not licensed attorneys. Rather than retain the funds as had been promised, these conspirators diverted portions of the funds for their benefit, including for luxury car rentals, travel, and adult entertainment, and transferred the majority of the funds to Ingersoll.
As part of the conspiracy, Ingersoll and other conspirators provided the victim with fake real estate purchase contracts and other documents that the owners of the properties did not execute, but rather contained forged signatures or were executed using the names of fictitious individuals and that falsely represented the entities that owned the properties.
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Ingersoll and other conspirators also falsely claimed that specific entities and individuals had expressed interest in purchasing the real estate, when those potential buyers did not exist, had never been contacted about purchasing the real estate, or had declined to pursue a transaction.
When the victim requested a return of some of the funds, Ingersoll provided false excuses about why the funds could not be returned, including false claims that the purported escrow agent was in Costa Rica and was not allowed to leave that country due to having COVID-19.
In another conspiracy in 2017, Ingersoll conspired to defraud a local government entity in the Middle District of Florida out of $262,000 through the straw purchase and markup of a piece of real estate.
As part of that conspiracy, Ingersoll used his position as a consultant for the local government entity to find a straw purchaser to buy a piece of real estate. On the same day that the straw purchaser bought this real estate, Ingersoll caused the property to be transferred to the local government agency for an extra $262,000 above the purchase price.
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The $262,000 windfall was divided amongst Ingersoll, the straw purchaser, and other conspirators.
In another scheme, on March 31, 2020, Ingersoll submitted a fraudulent application to the U.S. Small Business Administration seeking $66,500 in emergency COVID-19 funding in the form of an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) for a business controlled by him named “The Ingersoll Group.”
In this application, Ingersoll made false representations regarding The Ingersoll Group’s revenues and costs in an attempt to fraudulently increase the amount of the loan.
The application was ultimately denied.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.
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