Ponzi Suspect Michael Greenberg Commits Suicide, Police Say; Florida Man Stood Accused Of Bilking Parents, Investors, Banks In New Scheme That Emerged After Prison Release
Greenberg hanged himself inside his home, police in Clearwater, Fla., told the Tampa Tribune. His body was found Wednesday. News of the suicide broke in the newspaper, which reported Greenberg was out on a signature bond of $50,000 after he was charged last week.
On March 25, the U.S. Secret Service alleged that Greenberg was operating a Ponzi scheme that involved nine different company names and scammed investors and businesses out of more than $24 million.
Among the victims in the case were Greenberg’s parents, the Secret Service said.
Records show that Greenberg had been charged in a previous Ponzi scheme that bilked his father out of more than $1 million and resulted in a 46-month prison sentence.
Within two years of his release from federal custody in 1996 — and while still on supervised probation — Greenberg started another scheme.
Hiding behind a proxy and forming a corporation fraudulently, Greenberg ultimately was able to gather $53 million from investors and businesses and persuade banks to make loans, the Secret Service said.
Greenberg stole his parents’ identities to get the loans, and also forged his wife’s signature on documents, the Secret Service said. The agency said the case also involved the theft of a notary’s stamp, forgery of the notary’s signature and the formation of “sham” corporations that existed “on paper.”
Elizabeth Watts, a spokeswoman for the Clearwater Police Department, was not immediately available Friday afternoon to answer questions about whether the suicide investigation was closed.
Greenberg used at least nine different corporations or business names to pull off the scheme, according to the Secret Service. He is accused of fleecing at least 30 investors and banks, and also is accused of swindling the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Among the victims were a real-estate developer and a law firm whose office manager invested the companyâ€™s line of credit of $119,000 in the scheme, according to the complaint.
Based on Greenbergâ€™s fraud â€” and elaborate measures to cover it â€” he duped the Small Business Administration into backing $1.5 million in loans, according to the complaint.