Harwood Heights couple sentenced in $3M fraud scheme
Updated: November 5, 2012 10:36AM
A Harwood Heights couple were sentenced Tuesday for their roles in a $3 million fraud scheme they ran in 2004 that involved using art as collateral, federal prosecutors announced.
Eugenio D. Leo, 31, was sentenced to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay $3.4 million in restitution. Leo pleaded guilty in May to one count of wire fraud.
Jody L. Meyer, 46, Leo’s wife, was sentenced to a five years’ probation and ordered to pay $431,750 in restitution. She pleaded guilty in May to one count of mail fraud.
Leo and Meyer were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Texas. Both Leo and Meyer are former residents of Allen, Texas.
According to court documents filed in the case, from February through November of 2004, Leo worked as a commodities broker at Compass Financial in Richardson, Texas. He devised a scheme in which he convinced victims to invest money by making short-term loans to museums in Europe. The loans were to be secured by pieces of art worth significantly more than the loan value.
Instead, Leo purchased art with the money, and sold it to the victim, making a profit of more than $800,000 for himself, prosecutors charged. Leo and Meyer also claimed that Leo owned the artwork to obtain a loan from Art Capital Group of about $300,000. In all, the victim lost about $3 million from the scheme, according to prosecutors.
Leo was ordered to surrender Nov. 28, the release said.