Mass. man accused of defrauding investors in house-flipping scheme

Mass. man accused of defrauding investors in house-flipping scheme

Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin has charged a Milton, Mass., man with using a fraudulent house-flipping scheme to convince friends and investors to lend him money that he then used on restaurants, hotels and groceries.

Galvin’s office, which is charged with enforcing the state’s securities law, said Ricardo “Rick” Bernard never spent the money on improving the homes — located in Milton, West Roxbury, Taunton, Stoughton and Brockton — and instead rented them out and let them fall into foreclosure.

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In filing the charges, which mark the beginning of noncriminal administrative proceedings, Galvin’s office is seeking a cease and desist order against Bernard as well as censure, a fine and restitution to compensate his investors.

Bernard is accused of convincing his investors, which included friends and acquaintances, to lend him money to buy and fix up the homes by promising to repay the loans in full with interest. In one case, he promised to pay rental income from one property to do different lenders, Galvin’s office said.

Galvin’s office said Bernard also managed to buy several homes in danger of foreclosure for $1 by convincing the sellers that he would may more after he flipped the properties. Instead, Galvin’s office said Bernard rented out the homes, pocketed the rental income, neglected the tenants and allowed the properties to fall into foreclosure without paying back his loans as promised.

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