Former CEO of company with ties to Marion County charged with fraud

Former CEO of company with ties to Marion County charged with fraud

MIAMI, FL (WMBF) - The former Chief Executive Officer of Essex Holdings, Inc., a company that promised to bring jobs to Marion County, is facing two fraud charges totaling more than $30 million.

Navin Shankar Subramaniam Xavier is charged in connection with a scheme that involved nearly 100 investors who purchased interests in sugar transportation and iron ore mining in Chile, according to a release from the U.S. Justice department. Xavier allegedly used a false financial statement, forged documents, and false promises to lure the investors to invest in Essex Holdings, then used the money for other purposes, including lavish spending by him and his wife on expensive jewelry, luxury vehicles, wedding expenses, and cosmetic surgery. He then used new investor money to pay old investors in a Ponzi-like scheme before it collapsed, the DOJ alleges.

The second scheme involved unlawfully obtaining economic development funds from the State of South Carolina, the release states. The DOJ alleges that Xavier obtained $1.2 million in payments and approximately $1.5 million worth of commercial real estate that was to be use to develop a diaper plant and rice packaging facility by providing false financial documentation. The indictment alleges Xavier spend the development money for personal living expenses, and wired some to the same overseas accounts used in the investment fraud.

Xavier is charged by Indictment with fifteen counts of wire fraud. Xavier faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison for each count and a fine up to $250,000, according to the agency.

The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Darrin P. Gayles in Miami, where the company is based.

In 2013, Essex Holdings Inc., was part of the biggest job announcement ever for Marion County. It promised to 215 new jobs and a $54 million investment into the county.

That deal was at the center of a WMBF News investigation in July of 2015 with little sign of any economic benefits.

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