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Financial Forensic Report 3.29.2021

DON’T MESS WITH THE SUBWAY STORE OWNER!

A Florida real estate developer named Anthony Pugliese III is facing at least six months in prison under a plea deal. The deal resolves longstanding fraud charges associated with a  building venture in Florida that Pugliese started with a Subway restaurant chain co-founder named Frederick DeLuca. 

Pugliese, 68, chose not to stand trial and will instead be sentenced November 25 for his part in a complicated scheme to defraud DeLuca through fake companies and phony billings, to the tune of more than $1 million. Pugliese orchestrated the fraud along with his business manager, Joseph Reamer, 57. 

The three men planned to construct a 41,000-acre green community project just south of Orlando. Dubbed “Destiny,” the environmentally friendly development began in 2009 as a collaboration between Pugliese and DeLuca. The community was planned for 64 square  miles  of  Osceola and Indian River counties, but unfortunately, the arrangement fell apart — and so did the business relationship between Pugliese and DeLuca. 

Pugliese and Reamer used bogus companies  and phony vendor invoices to funnel money from DeLuca for a range of personal luxury expenses, including an outrageous $11,000 “moat-chilling machine” to cool the   pond of Pugliese’s oceanfront mansion in Gulf Stream and keep its fish alive. As the  relationship broke down, Pugliese and DeLuca started  suing each other for more than $5 billion in civil court. State prosecutors got involved as well.

Reamer has pleaded no contest to a single felony charge of conspiracy   to commit organized scheme to defraud over $50,000 — he hasn’t admitted to guilt, technically, but Judge Kelley formally declared Reamer guilty and sentenced him to four years’ probation. Pugliese also pleaded no contest to the same charge of conspiracy, along with one count of grand theft of over $20,000.

All told, there were 18 charges dropped against Reamer and 17 charges dropped against Pugliese. If  the  cases against Reamer and  Pugliese had gone to trial and they’d been convicted of all charges, the two men could have faced up to 290 years in prison. Pugliese is also required to pay more than $1 million in restitution to DeLuca.

Over the course of the extensive civil litigation battle, DeLuca’s attorneys won civil sanctions against Pugliese at least five times and exceeding $500,000, to  cover legal fees and  a host of other expenses. Between the jail time and the huge bills, this is one case where it’s clear that crime doesn’t pay.

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“When I was general counsel for First Interstate Bank, I used Joe Dickerson for locating assets, investigating behavior and asset discovery. He did excellent work and always got the information I needed without compromising the bank in any way. He’s more thorough and kept in better touch with me than other investigators. I’d give him a grade of 96 or 97 out of 100.”

Frank Brainerd, Retired
Banker/Attorney

2014-11-11T18:20:20+00:00

Frank Brainerd, Retired
Banker/Attorney

“When I was general counsel for First Interstate Bank, I used Joe Dickerson for locating assets, investigating behavior and asset discovery. He did excellent work and always got the information I needed without compromising the bank in any way. He’s more thorough and kept in better touch with me than other investigators. I’d give him a grade of 96 or 97 out of 100.”

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Jan Schlichtman
, Attorney at Law

2014-11-11T18:20:55+00:00

Jan Schlichtman
, Attorney at Law

“Joe Dickerson is the industry standard. You can measure the rest by what he does, and I say that without equivocation. Joe has incredible insight into the dark world of fraud. He understands the devious ways in which people perpetrate white-collar crime.”

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Andrew Quiat
, Attorney

2014-11-11T18:12:51+00:00

Andrew Quiat
, Attorney

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Tim Gabelhouse
, Attorney at Law

2014-11-11T18:20:41+00:00

Tim Gabelhouse
, Attorney at Law

“As an environmental law firm, we use Joe Dickerson to locate prior business owners and do corporate genealogies. He is persistent, that’s the key to a good investigator, and he has a knack for understanding how people move money and do business. That tells him what rocks to look under. Joe is vastly superior to other investigators in two ways: he lets you know what’s going on and he’s honest with you, because he tells you if there’s really anything there worth pursuing. He is unusually thorough and creative finding people. Joe has earned his fee every time.” “If the information is to be found, then I believe that they will find it. Their service enabled me to do a much better job for my client.”

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Thomas E. Root, 
Attorney

2014-11-11T18:20:05+00:00

Thomas E. Root, 
Attorney

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R. Michael Sentel
, Former Section Chief Legal Division, FDIC

2014-11-11T18:13:08+00:00

R. Michael Sentel
, Former Section Chief Legal Division, FDIC

” I was prepared to dismiss a federal case involving millions of dollars against a local individual who claimed to have no substantial assets. After your staff hit the records and delved into the transactions behind the transactions, you discovered the individual to actually be worth a few million dollars. We continued the case to conclusion. We were also very happy with the financial background examinations you conducted of the former directors of two failed national banks. The heart of any civil case is whether there is a pot at the end of the lawsuit. You were our lucky leprechaun in finding such pots.”

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2014-11-11T18:21:13+00:00

Michael Whalen, 
Businessman

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Jim Thomas
, Prosecuting Attorney

2014-11-11T18:21:32+00:00

Jim Thomas
, Prosecuting Attorney

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