The developer of the Palm House Hotel, one of the largest EB-5 frauds in South Florida history, can no longer afford to pay his lawyers.
Robert Matthews will use taxpayer funds to pay his attorneys, as he awaits sentencing after he pleaded guilty in April to defrauding foreign EB-5 investors out of millions of dollars, according to the Associated Press.
U.S. District Judge Victor Bolden in Bridgeport, Connecticut, approved paying Robert Matthews’ private attorneys with public funds retroactive to April 2018, the Associated Press reported.
Matthews’ bank records showed he had about $2,890 in income from April 1 to June 30, according to a filing in his Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
A sentencing date has not been scheduled for Matthews.
Matthews was the developer of the condo-hotel project at 160 Royal Palm Way in Palm Beach that began soliciting EB-5 investment in 2012. The development group assured investors that the project would be completed in less than a year and that their money would be protected in an escrow account with a bank. It also claimed that Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Celine Dion would be on the condo-hotel’s advisory board.
In reality, no such advisory board existed and much of the money was instead diverted for the personal use of the Matthewses, according to federal prosecutors. [Daily Business Review] — Keith Larsen