Ponte Vedra man pleads guilty to multiple counts of wire fraud

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Robert H. Hendricks, 64, of Ponte Vedra, has pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for each count. Hendricks has agreed to pay at least $2,682,924.34 in restitution to his victims. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to the plea agreement, Hendricks was a licensed real estate broker in the Middle District of Florida. Hendricks told two of his victims, a husband and wife, who were his longtime friends, that he had been successful with commercial property development and needed money for another commercial property deal in central Florida. In October 2014, the husband paid Hendricks $300,000 as an investment into two commercial property ventures. Hendricks never used the funds for an investment. Instead, he used the funds for his personal benefit. 

On March 21, 2016, Hendricks received a wire transfer of $200,000 from another victim, who was also a friend. He told the victim that Wawa, a chain of convenience stores and gas stations, was establishing locations in Jacksonville and offered the victim a deal for four to five stores. The victim believed that three of the five locations were completed based, in part, on a contract from Hendricks that referenced a Wawa store at the St. Johns Town Center, and other representations made by Hendricks. However, the store at the SJTC had already been built at the time of the investment. Hendricks was not involved in that Wawa project or any other Wawa deal involving the SJTC. 

On April 18, 2016, Hendricks received a wire transfer of $490,000 from a lender for a property he had obtained from a longtime friend through misrepresentations. The victim agreed to temporarily transfer the property to Hendricks to enable him to pay for cleanup and obtain special insurance, but Hendricks did not need to pay for any cleanup and no special insurance was required. Instead, once the property was placed in Hendricks’s name, he obtained a $500,000 mortgage for his benefit, which he failed to repay and the property was awarded to the lender at auction.

On Feb. 13, 2017, Hendricks received a wire transfer of $388,962.17 from a victim for a commercial property venture. Hendricks falsely claimed he had an interest in an LLC that owned a Home Depot and the victim could invest in it.  However, the LLC was merely an LLC incorporated by Hendricks to further his fraudulent Home Depot investment scheme, and he did not own an interest in the LLC that owned the Home Depot.   

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.

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