Sometimes a rising star falls to earth.

That was the case for Matt Onofrio, a former Wisconsin anesthesia nurse who quit his job in 2020 to focus on real estate and is now facing banks related to multiple deals he arranged in Minnesota. fraud allegations, Insider reports.

Onofrio is accused of convincing buyers to pay a premium for a property that he had already paid for at a lower price. He would then help the buyer get a mortgage based on the higher price, offering to pay the down payment himself in exchange for monthly payments and interest, allowing him to profit from the difference and leaving the buyer exposed to financial stress risk.

One of his victims, mixed martial arts star Michael Chandler, bought a property for $16 million, only to discover later that Onofrio bought it for $12 million and charged him $4 million markup.

“It didn’t occur to Michael that Matt had the good intentions of brokering the deal,” Chandler’s attorney, Brendan Johnson, told the outlet. “But of course he didn’t understand that there was going to be a $4 million swing.”

In November 2022, Onofrio was indicted by federal prosecutors for alleged bank fraud. Prosecutors said Onofrio created sham purchase agreements to defraud banks and borrow money from customers without disclosing them to the banks. The government has frozen Onofrio’s bank accounts, and a trial date has yet to be set.

While Chandler’s case isn’t part of the criminal indictment, a former employee of Onofrio’s firm, Wild Moose Ventures, told Insider that in the two years before his arrest, Onofrio made roughly $400 million. dollar transactions.

Onofrio’s unassuming personality — combined with his sales pitch of holding multimillion-dollar bank accounts — has put at least some investors off guard.

Matthew Hermann, who said he has lost $200,000 so far from Onofrio’s $6.3 million purchase of the warehouse, called Onofrio a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” telling Hermann “I’ll always take care of you.”

“Matt ticked all the right boxes,” Herman told the outlet. “If you present yourself the right way, how are most people supposed to know?”

Ted Glazer

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