Builder pleads guilty in investment scheme

May 03, 2012|By Jamie Smith Hopkins, The Baltimore Sun

A Baltimore home builder pleaded guilty Thursday in connection with a construction investment scheme that defrauded victims of more than $14 million, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office said.

Brian McCloskey, 44, spent at least two years — from 2009 to 2011 — targeting people with money to invest in construction projects or who needed financing for their own projects, including a hotel in Bowie. He told the investors to put "large sums of money" in an escrow bank account to prove liquidity for purposes of getting financing, and that they would receive a high rate of return for their efforts, according to his plea agreement.

Instead, he and co-conspirators "fraudulently" removed the money — typically within two weeks — to pay off debts or to make "lulling" payments to other victims, the Maryland U.S. attorney's office said.

A co-defendant, attorney Kevin Sniffen of Phoenix, has also pleaded guilty

Sentencing for McCloskey — who faces up to 20 years in prison — is scheduled for Aug. 21. He operated several companies, including the McCloskey Group LLC and Kellen Property & Investment LLC.

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