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East Greenwich woman indicted in real estate ‘Ponzi scheme’ case

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PROVIDENCE, R.I (WPRI) – An East Greenwich woman has been indicted on 14 counts that she bilked family and friends out of millions of dollars in a real estate scheme.

A grand jury charged Monique Brady, 44, on Thursday with nine counts of wire fraud, as well as aggravated identity theft, money laundering and obstructing an IRS investigation.

Investigators say Brady “raised and pocketed millions of dollars from investors, including close friends, a family member, and business associates,” by asking them to invest in home improvement projects.

Prosecutors say Brady made hollow promises to return a hefty profit to the investors once the work was done.

But for the most part, the work was never completed on the properties, and Brady perpetuated the lie by sending “fraudulent emails purporting to be from a national property rehabilitation company claiming Brady had been approved to rehabilitate a property,” according to a news release from the Rhode Island U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Brady was arrested on April 25, and has been held in federal custody after FBI agents said she purchased a one-way ticket to Vietnam, where there is no extradition agreement with the United States.

At a detention hearing earlier this month Brady’s attorney said she was going to visit her ailing grandmother, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Lincoln Almond ordered her held.

Prosecutors said Brady was planning to flee the country with her bankruptcy attorney and paramour Kevin Heitke. 

Brady and her husband, Thomas Brady, filed for divorce last month according to family court records. 

Agents learned of the trip and confronted Heitke. Investigators said Brady then moved up the flight to Vietnam after Heitke informed her he was questioned, but later turned herself into authorities when she learned she was being charged.

According to the indictment, between 2014 and 2018, Brady received approximately $10.2 million dollars in investments from about 32 individuals and corporations. In all, the government says investors have lost $4.78 million in what prosecutors called a “Ponzi scheme.”

In his written ruling, Almond said “the government convinced me that the circumstances and timing of her recent plans to travel to Vietnam with her bankruptcy lawyer/paramour were a failed attempt to flee from prosecution.”

If convicted, Brady is guaranteed prison time because the charge of aggravated identity theft comes with a mandatory minimum of two years in prison. In addition, each count of wire fraud comes with up to 20 years in prison, and money laundering has a maximum 10-year sentence.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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