iCore Global describes itself on its website as a commercial real estate provider with 156 offices in 64 countries handling some $47.5 billion in annual transactions.
It lists offices stretching from San Antonio to Luxembourg to Casablanca.
In reality, according to a San Antonio federal grand jury indictment returned Wednesday, iCore Global had only two addresses in the United States. Both were mailboxes at UPS stores, including one in Helotes.
Firm founder and CEO Samantha L. Mueting, 56, of San Antonio, and two other officials stand accused of devising a scheme to to defraud iCore investors of more than $2 million. At least one couple lost the majority of their life savings, the indictment said.
Mueting has been charged with seven counts of wire fraud. In addition, Mueting, Chief Financial Officer Josephus De Laat, 60, of Spicewood, and operations manager Vodrick L. Perry, 52, of San Antonio, are charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Mueting and Perry also were indicted for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Each charge carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years if convicted.
The three allegedly “misused investors’ funds to enrich themselves and others,” the indictment said.
Email addresses for Mueting and De Laat posted on iCore’s website are no longer active. Mueting didn’t immediately respond to a text message and De Laat didn’t immediately return a call Friday. Perry couldn’t be located for comment.
iCore states on its website that it provides a variety of real estate services including investment sales, leasing, property management and construction management.
It says it’s been in business for more than 30 years. It claimed to employ 5,500 employees and agents, according to the indictment.
The firm’s website touts that it works with clients to “maximize the value” of real estate assets by applying “the knowledge that we gain in buying, selling, financing and valuing properties” for their benefit.
Its marketing materials caught the attention of a Michigan financial adviser.
The adviser, only identified in the indictment as “J.D,” primarily advises clients nearing retirement on “low-risk investment options” such as life insurance and annuities, the charging papers stated.
Mueting prepared a financial statement for the adviser that showed iCore’s worldwide revenue had surged from almost $4.9 billion in 2012 to nearly $11.8 billion in 2018, according to the indictment. The statement purported to contain “publicly reported and audited financials,” the indictment added.
The Michigan financial adviser passed on the marketing materials for iCore and its iCG Fund to two clients, a married couple identified in the indictment as “CWs 1& 2.” The pair invested about $1.4 million, the “majority of their life savings,” into the iCG Fund.
“CWs 1 & 2 lost the entirety of their investment,” the indictment added.
It also said iCore’s website represented that investments in the iCG Fund “offered investors a secured deposit.” Investor funds “earn interest during the term of the deposit and act as collateral” for iCore’s funding of commercial real estate projects, the marketing materials state, according to the indictment.
Another couple, identified as “CWs 3 & 4,” also J.D.’s clients, lost the roughly $600,000 they invested, the charging papers say.
A third married couple also advised by J.D., “CWs 5 & 6,” attempted to invest the majority of their roughly $471,800 nest egg, the indictment said.
All told, prosecutors allege Mueting, de Laat and Perry defrauded investors of more than $2.1 million. Each defendant is scheduled to make their initial court appearance later this month.
State corporate records show iCore and related firms, including iCore Global-San Antonio, are no longer active. The San Antonio firm’s corporate registration was terminated in 2014.
iCore Global, which listed a Frisco address in state corporate records, forfeited its corporate registration in August.
The U.S. Secret Service is investigating the case.