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Financial Crimes

Maryland attorney indicted in real estate investment fraud scheme with more than $747,000 in losses

BALTIMORE – A Maryland attorney was arrested Tuesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI.

Aaron G. Seltzer, 36, of Trappe, Md., was indicted by a federal grand jury March 14 on nine counts of wire fraud in connection with a scheme in which he converted funds intended for real estate investments to his personal use.  

The case was investigated by HSI and FBI special agents, who arrested Seltzer the morning of March 19. The indictment was unsealed upon his arrest.

According to the nine-count indictment, Seltzer was a licensed Maryland attorney who handled real estate transactions and maintained an office in Crofton, Md. The indictment charges that from January 2008 to 2010, Seltzer offered victims fraudulent investment opportunities then diverted the money intended for the investments for his own benefit. The indictment alleges that Seltzer obtained a total of $747,860 through eight fraudulent transactions and seeks forfeiture of that amount as the proceeds of the scheme.

For example, Seltzer offered to sell an investor 45 percent of an Anne Arundel County real estate company, claiming that he owned 100 percent of the stock, assets and liabilities of the company, when in fact, he did not. The investor sent a total of $92,000 to Seltzer, which Seltzer allegedly used for his own benefit. During the summer of 2009, Seltzer contacted a New York lawyer and represented that a client of Seltzer's was seeking a business loan. According to the indictment, Seltzer proposed that the loan be secured by a mortgage on three commercial properties located in Virginia, purportedly owned by Seltzer's client. The New York attorney assembled a group of investors to fund the loan. Seltzer presented the attorney with a fraudulent promissory note, which Seltzer falsely claimed was signed by a representative of his client. Seltzer further falsely represented that he had conducted the closing for the loan and presented the attorney with fabricated closing documents. On behalf of the investors, the attorney wired Seltzer $497,527 to fund the loan, which Seltzer allegedly diverted to his own benefit.

Seltzer faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the nine counts of wire fraud.

The Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission assisted in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Leo J. Wise.