Vero Beach man stole $40 million through defrauding brokerage firms

ORLANDO, FLORIDA – U.S. District Judge Paul G. Byron has sentenced David John Ridling (58, Vero Beach) to 15 years in federal prison for devising and executing a fraud scheme that resulted in the loss of more than $40 million. Ridling had pleaded guilty on October 20, 2020.

According to court documents, Ridling is a farmer. Over the course of three years, Ridling attempted to defraud five financial institutions, one financial services provider, and one local Orlando business out of over $50 million. Ridling’s scheme involved the use of false brokerage account statements, fabricated tax returns, and false financial statements to obtain loans and lines of credit.

As part of his scheme, Ridling falsely claimed that three individuals were his account representatives at a financial brokerage company and set up fake email accounts for two of those individuals without their consent or knowledge.  Assuming the identities of those two individuals, Ridling sent emails from the fake email accounts in an effort to convince lenders that he had millions of dollars in his two brokerage accounts. In fact, Ridling only had one brokerage account, which never had more than $2,000 in it. During the last year of Ridling’s scheme, he was able to obtain three loans totaling more than $25 million, based in part on his claim that his brokerage accounts had millions of dollars. During that timeframe, Ridling’s brokerage account had less than $2.00.

In total, Ridling was successful in receiving over $40 million in proceeds from his scheme, and he attempted to receive another $15 million from another victim.  Ridling used some of the proceeds that he obtained from his victims to pay amounts that he owed to other victims, prolonging his scheme.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg.

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