Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Carmel on the Case: Fraudster Sentenced
When the foreclosure crisis began it was open season for fraudsters who took advantage of investors. 7 News first exposed one such case that has now ended with prison for a South Florida woman. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
WSVN -- Twenty-six-year-old Carla Gideon was in a Broward courtroom to face justice. She was charged with organized fraud for scamming seven victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Among them, Fred Kennedy.
Fred Kennedy: "One day Carla came over and she said, 'Hey, I have some foreclosed homes. These homes would then be sold to you at a very, very low amount, under $10,000.'"
Another victim, Arma Gilead, who invested more than $100,000 that was supposed to be used for her son's college education.
Arma Gilead: "She said, 'Arma, sometimes they're dirt cheap.'"
Arma considered Gideon a friend and even threw a birthday party for her, but the friendship soured when Arma got nothing for her money.
We caught up with Gideon at her Fort Lauderdale home.
Carmel Cafiero: "I recognize you from your picture Carla. Carmel Cafiero from Channel 7, I'd like to know what happened to the $100,000 that Arma invested with you?"
Not long after that she left town, but she was later arrested in Largo, Florida and brought back to Broward. In all the state charges, Carla Gideon took seven investors for $379,800.
Al Gutman, Assistant State Attorney: "Enticed various victims to invest money with her based on false and fraudulent misrepresentations that Ms.Gideon knew were false and fraudulent when she made them."
Gideon entered a plea of no contest to a charge of organized fraud before Judge Carlos Rebollo.
Judge Carlos Rebollo: "Are you pleading no contest Ms. Gideon because you feel as though it's in your best interest, it's the best thing for you to do?"
Carla Gideon: "Yes sir."
And with that she was sentenced to six years and three months in state prison, followed by 15 years probation, plus she has to pay back her victims. Then she asked the judge to let her out for two weeks to visit her brother and sick mother.
Carla Gideon: "I would like permission to go see them and get a couple of things in order before I go serve my sentence."
Al Gutman: "I think that would be a very risky, risky thing to do given the facts of this case."
The judge turned her down. Watching all this, Arma Gilead who later said being a victim has robbed her of trust.
Arma Gilead: "The old days you believed people words and handshake, but that's not so now, we're living in a different time."
But she does think that when Carla Gideon gets out of prison she will make good on the court's order to pay back her victims.
Arma Gilead: "I believe I'll see my money. It might come slowly, but I believe I'll see it."
Carmel Cafiero: "Authorities say Carla Gideon has provided no explanation for what she did with the money she took from her victims, nearly 400,000."
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