News for the Hospitality Executive
|By John Shiffman, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Mar. 24, 2004 - CAMDEN, N.J. -- A prominent Ocean City developer was charged with more than $36 million worth of bank fraud yesterday. Federal authorities said banks in Philadelphia and South Jersey were prime victims.
James M. Dwyer, who was indicted last year on a single fraud charge related to a $16 million loan, was charged in a superseding indictment with eight new fraud counts.
Dwyer, 61, of Petersburg, posted $250,000 bond after his arrest last year and was released. At the time, he pleaded not guilty. He is scheduled to be re-arraigned Friday before U.S. District Judge Jerome B. Simandle in Camden.
Dwyer's lawyer, F. Emmett Fitzpatrick Jr. of Philadelphia, said he could not comment on the superseding indictment because he had not seen it.
If convicted, Dwyer faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of more than $1 million, although federal guidelines would likely call for a sentence of about 10 years.
The government alleged that Dwyer had provided false documents to banks to secure loans on several properties. According to the indictment, these included three faked opinion letters from a Cherry Hill accounting firm. Authorities also said Dwyer submitted false federal tax returns for 1996, 1997 and 1998.
"The tax returns he provided to the bank showed substantial income in the millions," Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas DiLeonardo said.
"The tax returns filed with the IRS showed significant losses."
The superseding indictment detailed at least a dozen loans, totaling more than $36 million, in at least three states and Washington.
Two of the bank loans involved well-known properties in Philadelphia and the Shore, the government said.
In 2000, the indictment alleged, Dwyer signed for a $3.15 million loan from First Republic Bank in Philadelphia, in part to cover expenses for the purchase of the Packard Building and the Jewish Federation Building, both in Center City.
The indictment also alleged fraud on 1999 and 2000 loans related to the Flanders Hotel and Watson's Regency Suites in Ocean City, which Dwyer owned. The government said Dwyer and his companies had obtained $6.5 million in eight loans from Parke Bank in Sewell, including $1 million to refinance the mortgage on a Flanders Hotel penthouse he owned.
In addition, the indictment alleged that Roxborough Manayunk Bank in Philadelphia had provided Dwyer's businesses a $5.7 million loan to help refinance the Homestead Hotel in Ocean City.
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(c) 2004, The Philadelphia Inquirer. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.