Florida Trio Accused Of Targeting Seniors In Phony Fish Farm Scam

A trio of South Florida thieves are accused of tricking elderly retirees into investing thousands of dollars into a phony fish farm.

Matthew Braun, 36, and Rebeca Gonzalez, 43, both of Boca Roaton, and Michael Creamer, 48, of Largo, are each facing charges of organized scheme to defraud, sale of unregistered securities, sale of securities by an unregistered person and securities fraud.

Braun (left), Creamer (middle), Gonzalez (right)

Braun and Gonzalez were arrested in Palm Beach County late last month. Creamer was arrested Monday. All three have since been released from jail on bond.

A news release accuses the trio of targeting senior citizenss in Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties, deceiving at least five people into investing more than $400,000 in a fake fish farm called Blue Ocean Farm.

According to an arrest affidavit, Gonzalez and Braun contacted Carmine Della Rocca, 84, of Tamarac, in 2013 and solicited two investment checks totaling $110,000.

Della Rocca, believing that Gonzalez was working for a licensed securities investment firm, promised to invest $100,000 into Blue Ocean Farm and later gave an additional $10,000 in exchange for a higher interest rate on his principal.

Della Rocca told investigators that Gonzalez told him his investment "would yield a guaranteed return." But Della Rocca never received any repayment of the principal or interest returns on his investment.

Investigators said they determined Braun, Creamer and Gonzalez defrauded investors using false promissory notes like the one signed by Della Rocca.

In addition to Della Rocca, the suspects are also alleged to have duped a 70-year-old man in Lake Worth, an 84-year-old woman in Boynton Beach, an 84-year-old woman in Boca Raton and a Sunrise woman whose family was suing Blue Ocean Farm for investments made before her death in 2015.

Braun, Creamer and Gonzalez face up to 70 years in prison if convicted.

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