A well-known Miami Gardens pastor and businessman is facing multiple charges after authorities say he robbed an elderly man’s home as part of an elaborate fraud scheme.
Eric Readon, pastor of New Beginnings Missionary Baptist Church, was arrested on Tuesday for exploitation of an elderly person, organized fraud scheme, conspiracy to commit an organized fraud scheme, grand larceny and theft of a 65-year-old person. years or more, the Miami-Dade State’s Attorney’s Office said.
Readon, 46, was incarcerated in Miami-Dade Jail where he was being held on $42,500 bail, records show. Attorney information was not available.
Prosecutors said the scheme dated back to 2015, when the victim, Edward Fuller, 76, was trying to finish building his dream Miami home.
Fuller had the exterior of the house finished but was unable to obtain financing to finish the interior.
He was home in July 2015 when he was approached by Readon, whom he did not know, who told Fuller he had a friend at the Miami-Dade permit office who told him Fuller had need help securing financing to complete the home, prosecutors said.
Readon told Fuller that for $15,000 he would help Fuller get a loan to cover construction costs, but said Readon could only get the loan if Readon owned 50% of the property, prosecutors said.
Readon asked Fuller to sign more than 50% ownership to Readon’s Project Youth Outreach Unlimited, a Florida nonprofit he owns, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Readon told Fuller that the partial title transfer was simply to secure the loan and that once the house was completed, Readon would return full title to Fuller.
“Fuller signed more than half ownership of the property to secure the necessary financing to complete his home, believing representations from someone Fuller viewed as a man of God,” the prosecutor’s office said. of the state in a press release. “This started a complex Readon program involving numerous deed transfers, building loans, alterations, mortgages and credit cards.
advances, all intended to confuse and deceive Fuller.”
Prosecutors said it took only 18 months for Readon to take full ownership of the property and sell it without Fuller’s knowledge and with no profit going to Fuller.
Between the theft from the house and thousands of dollars in credit card debt Readon left Fuller, the total theft was approximately $267,000, the state attorney’s office said.
“It’s truly shameful when someone tries to rip off our most vulnerable citizens, especially when that person poses as someone in a position of public trust,” the Special Enforcement Officer said. Florida Department of Law Troy Walker in a statement. “I commend the dedication and hard work of our officers
and analysts who worked nearly 1,200 hours on this case to bring Readon to justice. Exploitation of the elderly has no place in our communities.”
In addition to the Fuller fraud, Readon also used the property to defraud newlyweds Safiyah and Calvin Singleton, fraudulently promising them a lease-purchase agreement on the home, prosecutors said.
The couple gave Readon $3,100, which he took, leaving them without a home to sleep in just before their first Christmas together as a married couple, prosecutors said.
“There is something particularly infuriating when an alleged fraudster snatches the very hopes and dreams of one of our senior residents,” prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. being quietly transformed into financial deception via a flurry of signed contracts, deeds and documents. I thank the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their work in
help us bring this case to our criminal courts.”