Executive of Fort Lauderdale Yacht Company Facing Federal Fraud Charges
According to reporting from the South Florida Business Journal, Andrew Deme and several as-of-yet unidentified co-conspirators are facing federal business fraud charges. Mr. Deme was the top executive of a Fort Lauderdale yacht-sharing business operating under the name ‘Water Club Holdings’. On December 6th, 2017, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a public announcement indicating that Mr. Deme had been charged with fraud, arrested in South Florida, and then released on $100,000 bond.
The Allegations of Fraud Against Water Club Holdings
Understanding the Business Model
Water Club Holdings is a Fort Lauderdale, Florida company that provides member-based yacht services. One of the things that makes this company is unique is that it purports to be an advanced yacht-sharing business. Essentially, the company was seeking to give its members access to a large fleet of different yachts, for individual events and vacations. Water Club Holdings marketed itself as bringing the ‘sharing economy’ to the yachting business.
Representations Were Made to Investors
In seeking capital to launch the company and sustain business operations, Andrew Deme, who was serving as the President, CEO, and CFO of the company, was the primary party soliciting money from investors. In pushing the investment opportunity on members of the public, Mr. Deme relied heavily on the concept that the ‘sharing economy’ model could make Water Club Holdings’ yacht sharing program an extremely profitable business. Mr. Deme and his co-conspirators also made several different critically important material representations to actual and potential investors. Specifically, investors were told that:
- Sales representatives were being paid in stock, and were receiving no commission payments or any other direct compensation for soliciting an investment;
- The company was in excellent financial shape; and
- Investor money would be used specifically to develop the business and fund operations.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut, all three of the aforementioned representations were completely false. Mr. Deme and his sales representatives were being paid a large (and undisclosed) finder’s fee for soliciting investment in the business. The representatives received no stock for their work. Further, financial documents indicate that the company is in poor financial health. Finally, more than 50 percent of the investors’ total money had been diverted away from the company. Money was not being used to launch or sustain operations. If these allegations are proven to be true in court, this is a serious form of fraud. Victims deserve fair compensation. If you or a loved one was a victim of fraud, either as an investor, a consumer, or manager or a business, you need to seek immediate assistance from a qualified West Palm Beach fraud lawyer.
Contact Our Business & Consumer Fraud Attorneys Today
At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our aggressive South Florida business fraud attorneys have helped many people obtain full compensation for their losses. If you were a victim of business fraud in Miami, West Palm Beach, or in any of the surrounding communities, we can help. To request your free, no obligation case evaluation, please contact our law firm today.