$10 Million Scheme Scams Church CUs
The FBI said a school district, state municipalities and credit unions that served several churches were among the victims of a $10 million Ponzi scheme run by a Southfield, Mich., investment adviser.
Through MuniVest Financial Group and MuniVest Services LLC, Dante DeMiro promised clients he would buy certificates of deposit worth millions of dollars, the FBI said. However, DeMiro, the founder and managing director of the MuniVest firms, used the investors' funds to pay back investors who previously worked with him and to make loans to a local jewelry store.
The FBI said DeMiro ran the Ponzi scheme since March 2009. While the names of the credit unions bilked out of their funds were not provided, officials said they served churches. The Detroit News reported that Lapeer County, Mona Shores Public Schools in Muskegon, Comstock Township near Kalamazoo, and the Boiler Makers Local 169 Union in Allen Park were also served by DeMiro. Lapeer County officials said the county lost nearly $750,000, the publication reported.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said DeMiro was indicted by a federal grand jury on bank and wire fraud charges Oct. 7, arraigned in U.S. District Court in Detroit and released on $10,000 unsecured bond. He now faces a 30-year prison sentence and more than $1 million in fines if convicted.