Miami Prosecutors Charge South Florida Man With Meat Ponzi Scheme

Miami prosecutors have charged a South Florida man today with multiple crimes after investigators stumped him with a simple question: "Where's the beef?" 

Carlos Hernan Del Valle, a 61-year-old from Weston, has been arrested and charged with grand theft and organized fraud for his role in a meat exporting fraud scheme that targeted a Miami bank to the tune of $750,000.

Del Valle's pork project started with an application for a line of credit with Plus International Bank of Miami and the Export-Import Bank of the United States. The businessman, who ran a firm called Lion Trading Corp. based in a warehouse park off Bonaventure Boulevard in Weston, presented the banks with documents supposedly showing he'd sold and shipped meat products to nine businesses in the Dominican Republic from November 17, 2011 through January 23, 2012

But according to prosecutors, Del Valle made up all that meat. The fake invoices bilked the two banks out of $750,000 in all. That cash went to pay off past loans he'd gotten with similarly bogus invoices, prosecutors allege, making his whole scheme a meat-based Ponzi pyramid.

“Sophisticated white collar crimes appear radically different from burglaries and armed robberies”, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle says in a release. “But they have one thing in common: they are acts undertaken to steal from others; from home owners, from citizens or, in this instance, from our government."

No one answered a listed phone number at Lion Trading Corp; it's not clear if Del Valle has an attorney yet in this case.

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