Maxim Investors Fleeced by Owner's Son, Feds Say
MANHATTAN (CN) - A Staten Island man impersonated his father to trick lenders into financing more than $8 million for the supposed acquisition of Maxim Magazine, federal prosecutors say.
Charles Darden Jr., who attempted to make $20 million on the scheme, also rolled a Taiwanese company for $500,000 by making false promises to arrange for the New York Knicks to play an exhibition game in Taiwan, according to a 16-page complaint unsealed Thursday.
Darden "orchestrated and carried out two separate fraudulent schemes in which he concocted an elaborate set of lies that included, among other things, phony emails, fabricated financial account statements, false representations, and his impersonation of his father, to defraud multiple victims of more than $8 million and to attempt to defraud another victim of approximately $20 million," the complaint states.
Maxim was acquired in September 2013 by a media group named for Darden's father, a former United Parcel Service executive, Business Week reported.
Prosecutors say the younger Darden tried to pass himself off as his namesake.
"To convince the lenders to enter into the loan agreements, Darden forged his father's signature, impersonated his father during multiple phone calls, emails and text message communications with the lenders and other parties, and forwarded to one lender a bogus and fabricated email that purported to come from a senior executive of a major cable television company and purportedly showed that executive's interest in creating a cable channel affiliated with Maxim Magazine," the complaint states.
The younger Darden also pretended to be his father to pull off an "NBA Fraud Scheme," according to the complaint.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement that the younger Darden "sought to mislead and deceive his victims at virtually every opportunity, and he used the full spectrum of fraudulent devices, including false documents, 'spoofed' emails, and outright impersonation."
Darden, 39, is charged with two counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.
He is expected to be presented in the Southern District of New York later today.