Real estate executive faces additional charges in alleged $2M fraud

California developer Ryan Wright, 37, faces 18 new counts related to collapsed Texas project

Ryan Wright (Getty)
Ryan Wright (Getty)

An executive at a San Luis Obispo-based real estate development company, is facing more charges in an alleged scheme to defraud investors in a Texas real estate project.

Ryan Wright, 37, who was initially charged with paying bribes to a county supervisor, is now facing 14 new counts of wire fraud, three counts of attempted bank fraud, and one count of access device fraud, according to a press release by the Department of Justice.

This adds to the initial three-count indictment filed in October, which accused Wright of bribery and engaging in a cover-up. The trial for these charges is scheduled for May 14.

The new allegations revolve around a luxury home development project in Dripping Springs, Texas. 

According to the indictment, spanning from October 2021 to October 2023, Wright is accused of soliciting funds for the project, diverting investors’ money for personal use, and attempting to defraud financial institutions. Notably, these activities continued even after the collapse of the real estate deal in August 2022.

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The indictment claims that Wright managed to raise about $2 million from investors, using some of the funds for personal expenses, including the acquisition of a luxury condominium in Beverly Hills. Shockingly, it is asserted that he continued soliciting funds even when aware of the ongoing investigation into the alleged corruption scheme.

Wright is also accused of fraudulently seeking over $24 million in financing for the failed real estate deal. The indictment suggests that he opened an account in the company’s name, temporarily inflated it with non-project funds, and presented a deceptive picture to lenders to secure the loan.

Further, Wright is accused of access device fraud, where he is accused of fraudulently obtaining credit in 2023 by using a business associate’s credit rating to acquire credit cards. The indictment claims he misappropriated approximately $450,000, spending it on lavish expenses such as Las Vegas hotel rooms, sporting events, plastic surgery, and payments to criminal defense attorneys related to the federal corruption investigation.

The initial charges related to corruption and obstruction remain intact in the superseding indictment. Those charges center around the claim that Wright and his company paid significant sums to a county supervisor who advocated for their projects and influenced City of San Luis Obispo officials. Allegedly, Wright also took steps to obstruct the federal investigation, including the production of falsified business records.

Currently in custody since his arrest in late October, Wright is awaiting arraignment on the superseding indictment He faces sentences on each charge ranging from five to 30 years in federal prison.