PALM COAST, Fla. -- A 45-year-old man is in jail on a $1 million bond in Flagler County after he's charged with money laundering and structuring.
Michael Stevens was arrested by Flageler County Sheriff's Deputies Wednesday afternoon in connection with a money laundering scheme through a Flagler County-based business known as Dark Hawk Enterprises, LLC. Stevens was registered as president of the business and Anthony Fregenti was listed as a manager and associated dealer.
Fregenti was arrested in September of 2010 and charged with running an organized scheme to defraud.
Deputies say Fregenti would promise victims he would buy their cars or motorcycles and sell them overseas to a Saudi Arabian prince. Investors would give Fregenti money to buy the cars in exchange for a return on the investment once the cars were sold, according to Police.
Stevens is charged with taking money from Fregenti and investing it in Dark Hawk Enterprises, LLC, before returning the money back to Fregenti. Both men allegedly used the funds for personal purchases.
Under the investment fraud scheme, Stevens would purchase motorcycles and later sell them to buyers and return the profit on the sale back to the investors.
Investigators say no motorcycles were ever bough and the investors never saw a return on their money.
The Sheriff's Office began to investigate the business dealings with investors began complaining that they being ripped off.
One couple said they invested some $166,000 with Dark Hawk Enterprises, LLC.
Investigators believe Stevens siphoned $85,000 of the money to pay what they call a "floor plan," a debt incurred for motorcycles he already bought and sold.
Detective Nate Flach said Stevens would withdraw money from his account in increments under $9,000 to avoid a federal transaction reporting requirement and spent the money for his and Fregenti's personal use.
"There were many people duped by these two men and many who lost large sums of money that they couldn't afford to lose," said Sheriff Donald W. Fleming.
"We were able to partner with the State Attorney's Office to investigate this operation and collect enough evidence to finally charge Mr. Stevens."
Additional charges are pending as the investigation continues.