Orlando, Florida – David John Ridling (58, Vero Beach) has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of wire fraud, 4 counts of bank fraud, 8 counts of money laundering, and 2 counts of aggravated identity theft. Ridling faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for each bank fraud count; 20 years’ imprisonment for each wire fraud count; 10 years in prison for each money laundering count; and a mandatory minimum of 2 years’ imprisonment for the aggravated identity theft counts. Ridling also will be ordered to pay restitution. In addition, the United States is seeking a forfeiture money judgment of over $40 million and the forfeiture of approximately $348,000, a Chevrolet Silverado truck, a Peterbilt truck, and a Featherlite trailer seized from Ridling as well as real property in St. Lucie County.
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 then 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 over $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. He 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 is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg. Assistant United States Attorney Nicole Andrejko is handling the criminal forfeitures.