Brooklyn Eyeglass Merchant Defrauds Business Lenders

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merchant fraudIt’s another case of bad merchants. In this instance, Maksim Grinberg, the owner of D&M Optical and 9th Street Vision in Brooklyn have been charged with defrauding lenders out of $3.4 million. According to an article in the New York Times, Grinberg, along with two co-defendants, used false documents and guarantors to obtain numerous business loans over the last five years. He then used those funds to gamble, shop with his girlfriend, and pay his rent. The charges have resulted in a 148-count indictment filed by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson is quoted in the official report as saying, “this long-running scheme allegedly took advantage of banks and leasing companies as well as of hard-working doctors whose identities were stolen so they could be listed as loan guarantors. We investigated this brazen scam, put an end to it and will now hold those responsible accountable.”

The roster of victim lenders which included names like Wells Fargo, noticeably did not list any alternative lenders. While a UCC search revealed his D&M Optical Store used a merchant cash advance 10-years ago, Grinberg’s scam was directed at what was apparently an easier target, traditional lenders. “To secure the loans,” according to the DA’s report, “the defendants submitted fraudulent documents, including applications, lease agreements and delivery acceptance forms as well as forged signatures of loan guarantors, according to the indictment.”

It is perhaps another sign that lenders need to move away from paper statements and to tools that can be verified electronically through third parties in an automated fashion. According to the Times, the scheme only began to unravel once a guarantor whose identity had been stolen was contacted to make a payment on their $1 million loan.

Last modified: December 22, 2015
Sean Murray

Category: Business Lending

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