John Bravata, the founder and chairman of BBC Equities, LLC, was arrested yesterday at JFK International Airport, announced U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. Bravata was arrested on an inbound flight from Italy. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Bravata is charged in a criminal complaint with wire fraud in connection with his solicitation of investor funds for BBC, which Bravata characterized as a real estate investment fund. The complaint charges that from 2006 through 2009, Bravata knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud investors. Bravata and those working on his behalf made multiple misrepresentations to numerous prospective investors, including misrepresentations regarding how their investment funds would be utilized, the security of funds invested with BBC, and the returns that could be expected by investors of BBC.
Bravata also misled investors by telling them that managers of BBC would not earn money unless BBC was profitable. He also represented that the managers of BBC did not take fees, commissions, or a salary. In reality, Bravata and others received lucrative compensation from BBC and related entities despite that fact that BBC was never profitable. Bravata also used investor funds to pay for the construction of his roughly 18,000 square foot personal home and to pay for other personal expenses.
The charge in the complaint, wire fraud, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
A complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Louis P. Gabel.