PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — One attorney calls it a “Ponzi-like scheme.”
Monique Brady, of East Greenwich, is accused of taking investment money for real estate projects on foreclosed properties, then never paying back the investors, according to multiple lawsuits reviewed by Eyewitness News.
Plaintiffs who have sued Brady in Kent County Superior Court, Providence Superior Court and U.S. District Court all claim she owes them more than $1 million combined, in investments and loans plus interest and promised profits for the real estate projects.
In one case, Gary Marinosci says Brady is a close friend, and approached him about a new business she was starting to help support her children, including one with special needs. She asked Marinosci to invest in the business by giving her the capital to work on foreclosed properties, according to the lawsuit, and promised to pay back his investment plus half the profits.
Instead, the suit says, “when a project was completed, Brady would request that Marinosci roll the funds in to a new project.” Marinosci said he never actually saw any of the projects.
“Because Brady was such a close personal friend, and based on her appeals to his friendship, Marinosci accepted her representations regarding the existence of such projects,” the suit says.
At one point, the lawsuit said Brady met Marinosci for lunch, and began crying. She allegedly told him she owed $280,000 to another investor, and needed him to give her the money to pay back the other investor. “This is going to ruin me,” the suit claims she said. Marinosci gave her the money.
In all, Marinosci claims he’s owed $657,462 in principal, plus $67,263 in profit interest.
“To date, Brady has offered no explanation for what she did with the hundreds of thousands of dollars of Marinosci’s outstanding investments,” the suit says.
The same lawsuit, filed on August 15, claims Dustin Slocum, a manager at Marinosci’s car wash, invested in the projects himself and recommended that his mother and grandmother do the same from a trust fund. The Slocum family claims they are still owed $335,097 with $33,487 in interest.
Multiple lawsuits claim the plaintiffs were approached by IRS agents, who informed them that Brady was under criminal investigation.
“It appears Brady was accepting ‘investments’ from multiple investors on the same project and, in that manner, running a Ponzi-like scheme that ultimately caught up with her,” attorney Stacey Nakasian writes in the lawsuit filed by Marinosci and Slocum.
Brady’s attorney, Kevin Heitke, declined to comment on the allegations made in the lawsuits.
“A creditors’ meeting has been scheduled per U.S. Bankruptcy Court Rules,” Heitke said in an email. “Other than that, I have no comment.”
An Exeter man, Salvatore Savastano, filed a lawsuit Aug. 1 against Brady in Providence Superior Court. Savastano says he knew Brady because their kids went to the same school, and she told him about her business fixing up foreclosed properties. Savastano says he gave Brady money for the projects, and was told he would receive his investment back plus 50% of the profits.
Similar to the other cases, Savastano’s lawsuit claims that “Brady would ask Savastano to roll over his contracts that were coming due to invest in new property rehabilitation projects, instead of paying Savastano his principal investment and half of the profit.”
The lawsuit says Savastano did receive some payments, but is still owed at least $473,549. The suit says he, too, was approached by IRS agents to discuss his investments. The IRS agents told him it was part of a “criminal investigation.”
Another lawsuit, filed in federal court on Aug. 6, claims Melissa Coulombe of Maine and her brother Ryan Coulombe of Massachusetts loaned Brady hundreds of thousands of dollars for her real estate projects between 2014 and 2018. The suit claims Brady has not repaid the loans.
Two companies, Winter Holdings LLC and JEL Properties LLC, are also suing Brady for allegedly failing to pay back real estate loans.
Brady has not been charged with a crime. She filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Aug. 21, listing 45 creditors including all the plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against her. Brady’s East Greenwich home is also up for sale, listed at $1.2 million.