Victor and Natalia Wolf- Florida- 2011 Nov 18, 2014 8:19:14 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Nov 18, 2014 8:19:14 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: cnbc.com)
Link to American Greed: The Fugitives episode: www.hulu.com/watch/544342#i0,p5,d0
Admin Note #1: According to the fbi.gov website, if you have any information on this case, call your local FBI field office or embassy. Tips can also be submitted electronically to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov
Victor and Natalia Wolf are wanted for a real estate scam out of Florida. They were aired on the season 2 premiere of American Greed: The Fugiitves on CNBC. The show devoted the entire hour to them.
The following is a synopsis of the show. I usually try to be brief, but because of the hour, I have more details than usual.:
In 2004, Victor and Natalia Wolf, claiming to be Russian nationals, move into a section of Miami called Sunny Isles Beach but nicknamed "Little Moscow", which is said to be a hotbed for Russian organized crime.
They start a real estate company called "Sky Development" but not for their neighborhood but another one in Central Florida called Citrus Springs. Citrus Springs at the time is rural and undeveloped. Land goes for as little as 4,000 but with a housing market boom the area seems re-discovered. Fifteen acres are divided into 33,000 lots with visions of a thriving planned city with a school, church etc. Many people buy land just to flip it for a profit because of the cheap price.
Victor Wolf invites Russians from all the over the country to a seminar where he claims long success in business and that he made his first million by age 20 and says they will build 50 houses in the next five months.
Pete Madison is one land flipper in Citrus Springs the Wolfs will wind up in a lengthy business partnership with. They ask him for half a million dollars to carry their first mortgage and finance lots for him. They will sell them and pay him interest. Any concerns Madison has that they can't pay him back are alleviated when he sees Victor's expensive car, a Maybach.
This also is indicative of the luxurious lifestyle Victor and Natalia seem to flaunt. Victor is said to use a private jet to transport clients and pick up the tab for them. Natalia is said to be a fashionable dresser, but so is Victor, and one person on the show says they notice him wearing a $60,000 watch.
In December of 2004, the market goes even more up, and the asking price for Citrus Springs land has went for as little as $4,000 to as much as $35,900. The Wolfs advertise on Russian tv and get interested buyers from all over the country The Wolfs start a new company called "Sky Construction". Peter Mazzarino and his wife puts down 28,500 for an "Alexis", a design of a house the Wolfs claim will be built.
When Pete Madison does research and finds lots they don't own, his concerns are still alleviated because the Wolfs will either give him more money or a new lot to replace the one they don't own with.
Meanwhile, Natalia becomes pregnant and her and Victor hold a baby shower on a yacht. This cemented their appearance of wealth but according to investigators the couple was a bit of a mystery. Especially Victor, who refused to ever show his passport and never used a passport in his own name. (The FBI official on the show does not believe Victor is his real name). Natalia is a bit less of one, she holds a German passport in her name.
But the longer their business goes on, the more the Wolfs will eventually get exposed. The following is a few more business ventures on the show that would turn out to be scams before the Wolfs were forced to flee.
-One couple on the show, Camilo Guzman and Ceclia Guzman takes out a $140,000 loan for a vacant lot in Citrus Springs with promises for a land that will soon own a Publix supermarket and Lens Crafters among other stores. It turns out there were never any plans to develop that lot, and the title company they wrote the check to doesn't even exist. This is one example of many of the Wolfs trying to sell land they don't own. They are able to make their ownership look legitimate by creating a new company called New Citrus Ventures. They sell 10 lots to 2 Russians in Brooklyn who then sell it back to Sky unknowingly. After that, Sky creates a fake deed.
-The Wolfs soon buy new land in Jackson County in Northwest Florida. It's a peanut farm. Business partner Pete Madison, having had a good relationship loans them another half million to buy the farm. The Wolfs sell it three different times to three different owners who thought they had the same deed.
-Dr. Alexandra Krot, having what she thought was a good business relationship, puts down more than a million dollars for new land in Sky Station, Texas. Yet a new scam from the couple since it will turn out they don't own the land.
In the summer of 2006, the Wolfs are running out of money and haven't paid rent for their place of business in months. They are so desperate they even ask employees, getting $750,000 from one. They also go back to Pete Madison, asking him for a million dollars for new land in St. Augustine, Florida, and promised a 12-18 percent interest. Madison, still having no reason to not trust the couple yet, agrees. Soon, however, an eagle-eyed clerk would turn back the deal, saying it can't be registered and the documents are fake.
A legitimate company in Citrus Springs called New Vista soon tries doing paperwork and realizes Victor and Natalia forged their employees names and re-sold lots.
Meanwhile, Peter Mazzarino and his wife learns the goods and supplies ordered for his house were never paid for. Natalia Wolf promises a Miami Detective named Ed Hill (who usually works homicide but took this case out of courtesy) that she will pay Mazzarino back. She does, but the check bounces. Hill investigates again and fines a scattered house. There were empty champagne bottles but missing clothing indicating the couple had left in a hurry. When he goes back to the house, there are four Russian men who let him know "you better catch them before we do." According to the show, many of the people Victor and Natalia scammed are NOT the people you want to scam.
Some victims on the show make out better than others. Peter Madison winds up the owner of the peanut farm, moves there and loves it there. Others do wind up getting to keep the land they bought. Others, however, such as Guzman and Richard nearly lose their house. Dr. Krot loses 4 million. The Wolfs in total are believed to have made between 50-70 million dollars in just two years of business, while their victims lost a total of up to 20 million.
Natalia flew to NYC and then to Moscow. Although it's not known how he got there, Victor is spotted in Moscow in early 2006. He is said to have been seen looking over his shoulder and appearing very nervous.
Thoughts? Side note, although the couple went on the run in 2006, I put 2011 as the wanted year since that's when the federal warrant was issued. Although on the show Victor and Natalia Wolf claimed to be Russian nationals, the FBI says they are purported to be German citizens. So although we never hear of Russia extraditing fugitives to the U.S., in my opinion it is possible the Wolfs could have fled to Germany or another country. Remember, they took millions from Russians possibly involved in organized crime back in the United States. It is entirely conceivable those same people could go back to Russia to visit family, go on vacation, etc. and wind up bumping into Victor and Natalia by sheer coincidence. The FBI also says the couple has ties to Arkansas, Texas, and New York. Also, I feel it should be stressed Natalia was said to be pregnant at one point on the show, so they could be travelling with a child.
Wherever they are, the show points out Victor and Natalia could still be conning people. That's why it's so important to catch them.
For more information on how you can help catch Victor and Natalia Wolf, please visit their FBI wanted posters below.
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