Dave Clark, CEO of the defunct Cay Clubs development company, and his wife, Cristal Coleman, have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office on charges of wire fraud. The couple is also accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and of obstructing an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Dave Clark was arrested while en route to Panama from Honduras early this week, and Coleman was arrested in Honduras, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office press release.
Clark, 56, has been held at the Monroe County Detention Center on Stock Island since Wednesday, said Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay. The couple made their first appearance at the federal courthouse in Key West on Friday.
According to the indictment, Clark and Coleman actively engaged in concealing Cay Clubs' assets after the SEC began investigating the company and its management. In a 2013 civil suit that was dismissed last month because it was filed after the statute of limitations had expired, the SEC accused Clark, Coleman and three other Cay Clubs executives of running a $300 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded approximately 1,400 investors.
In the criminal indictment, the Justice Department says that Clark and Coleman gave false and misleading testimony to the SEC in connection with its investigation. The couple's misdoings also are related to the Caribbean pawn shop business, called CMZ Group, LTD, that they got involved in after the collapse of Cay Clubs. According to the indictment, Clark and Coleman fraudulently siphoned funds from CMZ Group and used that money to "lead a lavish lifestyle."
Furthermore, the indictment says in the two months after the Jan. 30, 2013, filing of the SEC civil case, Clark and Coleman transferred nearly $2 million from an account in the Cayman Islands to a bank account they controlled in Honduras for the purpose of preventing the SEC from learning the source, nature, location and control of these monies.
The U.S. Attorney's Office released the indictment shortly after 5 p.m. Friday, and following two days of unanswered phone calls and emails about Clark's detention at the Stock Island facility.
Clerks at the federal courthouses in Key West and Miami also avoided confirming the existence of the case against Clark through the day Friday, saying that no first appearance hearings had been put on the docket.
In April, it was first reported that Clark and Coleman were the apparent subject of a Justice Department probe after criminal immunity deals for two Cay Clubs attorneys were entered in the record of the SEC case. In statements that were part of the immunity deals, attorneys Scott Callahan and Charles Phones accused Clark, Coleman and two other Cay Clubs executives of defrauding lenders and investors by running a Ponzi scheme.
It wasn't immediately clear Friday who Clark and Coleman have retained to defend them against the federal indictment. Civil attorney Kenneth Hazouri, who defended Clark and Coleman in the SEC case, didn't respond to a phone call Friday.
Cay Clubs burst onto the Florida Keys scene in June 2005, selling preconstruction units -- often for more than $600,000 -- for upscale condominium and floating town home resorts in Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon. During those early days, the company also spread charitable largesse in the Keys, sponsoring concerts, powerboat races and even a new amphitheater at Founders Park in Islamorada. Cay Clubs also entered into a management deal with high-profile Keys developer Pritam Singh and sought to operate the ferry service between Marathon and Pigeon Key.
By late 2007, however, the company had collapsed. It folded without having completed even one of 17 promised condominium complexes in the Keys, on Florida's west coast and in other states.
Staff writer Adam Linhardt contributed to thiss report.