"Jurors took less than three hours to determine that Matthew McManus, former co-owner of Remington Financial Group, helped bilk nearly 2,000 clients nationwide out of $26 million they had put forward hoping to land development loans for projects that included a Camden waterfront apartment complex and a California housing development," writes the Inquirer's Jeremy Roebuck here. More on the case here and here.
"Witnesses testified that McManus and co-owner Andrew Bogdanoff, who pleaded guilty to fraud charges in August, ran their company almost as two parallel businesses. For well-connected clients, such as developer Bart Blatstein, McManus worked tirelessly to put together financing deals for projects such as the Edge at Avenue North... near Temple University. Meanwhile, the company took money from smaller loan-seekers whom McManus and Bogdanoff had no intention of helping. 'Everyone who was working for this company knew it was a fraud,' prosecutor David L. Axelrod said."
Now starts the hard part, says Ingrid Robinson, the California business owner who worked hard to get Philadelphia U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger's attention to the case after the SEC and some West Coast prosecutors looked away. Robinson says fraud against small business has been a low-priority crime; ripoffs are common; commercial loan brokers like McManus can lie and steal for years with little fear of punishment. She's been lobbying Democrats and Republicans on the U.S. House Oversight Committee for Economic Reform to regulate the business loan brokers, but she's finding "they all have their own agendas, and Congress is all about the votes."