Prominent Bergen Developer Indicted

A Hudson County man was sentenced today.

The feds today indicted prominent Bergen developer Fred Daibes on charges of conspiracy.

Daibes, the former CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Mariner’s Bank, and Michael McManus, the CFO of Daibes Enterprises, a consortium of companies specializing in real estate development, were charged by a federal grand jury with one count of conspiracy to misapply bank funds and to make false entries to deceive a financial institution and the FDIC. Daibes, 61, of Edgewater, New Jersey, also was charged with five counts of misapplying bank funds, six counts of making false entries to deceive a financial institution and the FDIC, and one count of causing reliance on a false document to influence the FDIC. McManus, 61, of Madison, New Jersey, was charged with four counts of misapplying bank funds, one count of making false entries to deceive a financial institution and the FDIC, one count of causing reliance on a false document to the influence the FDIC, and two counts of loan application fraud. The defendants will have their initial appearances and arraignments at a later date.

Larry Lustberg, attorney for Daibes, issued the following statement:

“The government’s action in indicting Mr. Daibes today is completely unjustified, both legally and factually. The U.S. Attorney is well aware, after a 6-year investigation, that there is no victim, no deception, and no fraud. Mariner’s Bank is owned by Mr. Daibes and the government knows he invested millions of dollars into the Bank during the course of this investigation.  The notion that he defrauded himself is patently ridiculous and every penny of every loan has been paid back.  I am completely confident that Mr. Daibes’ name will be cleared.”

According to documents filed in this case:

Daibes was the founder and, until April 2011, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Mariner’s Bank. During the relevant time period, Mariner’s Bank was subject to federal banking regulations that placed limits on the amount of money that the bank could lend to a single borrower (the “Lending Limits”). Between January 2008 and December 2013, Daibes, McManus, and others orchestrated a nominee loan scheme designed to circumvent the Lending Limits by ensuring that millions of dollars in loans (the “Nominee Loans”) flowed from the nominees to Daibes, while concealing his beneficial interests in those loans from both Mariner’s Bank and the FDIC.

Daibes and others recruited nominees, including McManus, to make materially false and misleading statements and material omissions to Mariner’s Bank to obtain the Nominee Loans, including by concealing that Daibes was the true beneficiary. After receiving the proceeds of the Nominee Loans, the nominees distributed these monies to Daibes. Daibes and the nominees also failed to disclose to Mariner’s Bank that, in certain instances, Daibes pledged the collateral for the Nominee Loans, while, in other cases, he arranged to make both the interest and principal payments on the Nominee Loans.

In order to convince Mariner’s Bank to approve two of the Nominee Loans, McManus signed and provided to Mariner’s Bank a false certification attesting to the profitability of gas stations that two of the nominees had pledged as collateral after purchasing the gas stations from Daibes in sham transactions. After the FDIC began an investigation into one of the Nominee Loans, Daibes, McManus, and others created and submitted to the FDIC a backdated sales contract to make it falsely appear as though one of the nominees had obtained one of the nominee loans from Mariner’s Bank in order to pay Daibes for his interest in a real estate venture.

On the count of conspiracy to misapply bank funds and to make false entries to deceive a financial institution and the FDIC, the defendants face a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years and a maximum fine of $250,000. On the counts of misapplying bank funds, making false entries to deceive a financial institution and the FDIC, and causing reliance on a false document to influence the FDIC, the defendants face a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. On the counts of loan application fraud, McManus faces a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years and a maximum fine of $1,000,000.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of Supervisory Special Agent Thomas Mahoney, special agents of the FDIC, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Patricia Tarasca in New York, and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Gregory W. Ehrie in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s charges.

The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, and Assistant United States Attorney Sean Farrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division.

The charges and allegations in the indictment are only accusations and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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