Investor, former 'Property Wars' star sentenced to 17 years for fraud

Scott Menaged

A former real-estate investor and "Property Wars" star was sentenced to 17 years in prison for involvement in multiple fraud schemes that targeted more than 200 victims and resulted in more than $30 million in losses, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Arizona said Tuesday. 

Scott Menaged, 40, had previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud, money laundering and aggravated identity theft, the office said.

Menaged operated a real-estate investment business and retail furniture stores in Phoenix, the office said.

He had also appeared on the Discovery Channel's "Property Wars."

Embezzled money supported 'lavish lifestyle'

The office said Menaged embezzled millions of dollars in loans meant for real-estate purchases, provided fake real-estate purchase documents to conceal the fraud, and used the embezzled money to support a "lavish lifestyle" including travel, million-dollar homes and luxury vehicles.

Once Menaged no longer had access to the embezzled funds, the office said, he orchestrated an "elaborate identity theft scheme" with purported customers of his furniture stores.

Menaged used names and personal identification information of recently deceased individuals and used their information to submit fake credit application from his furniture stores to various banks, the office said.

The office said no real furniture purchases ever took place and the ID theft resulted in more than $2 million in losses to the banks.

'Fitting punishment'

“Menaged engaged in a multi-year fraud scheme and brazenly stole from his victims — their money, their identities, and ultimately their trust,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange said in a prepared statement. “Today’s lengthy sentence is a fitting punishment for his egregious crimes.”

U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow also ordered Menaged to pay victims more than $33.5 million in restitution.

The investigation was conducted by the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.


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