Lumber yard owner accused of check-cashing scheme

Brooklyn man allegedly laundered $55M and spent it on real estate, cars

David Motovich and his lumber yard at 1169 Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn (LinkedIn, Google Maps, iStock)
David Motovich and his lumber yard at 1169 Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn (LinkedIn, Google Maps, iStock)

Lumber prices soared during the pandemic, but that doesn’t explain how the owner of a Brooklyn lumber yard came up with $55 million, prosecutors say.

David Motovich, 46, has been charged with running a check-cashing scheme and spending his ill-gotten money on real estate, apartment renovations and more.

The owner of Midwood Lumber & Millwork on Coney Island Avenue was arrested Tuesday for bank fraud, identity theft and witness tampering, the Commercial Observer reported.

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Federal prosecutors allege that Motovich’s scheme began in 2012 with illegal cash-checking. He allegedly provided high-fee check cashing and wouldn’t report transactions above $10,000, as required by anti-money-laundering statutes. He allegedly worked with contractors who paid employees in cash to avoid taxes.

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To conceal his activities, Motovich allegedly created shell companies and opened bank accounts in the names of other people, depositing about $55 million into them. Motovich allegedly spent that cash on real estate, jewelry, a Lexus, a Porsche, life insurance, renovations on an apartment and more.

Prosecutors accuse Motovich of pleading with witnesses not to cooperate with the government and paying them off. He also allegedly pressured witnesses to use his hand-picked attorneys and fire their own.

The case is being litigated in the Eastern District of New York.

[CO] — Holden Walter-Warner