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Largo Leader
Woman arrested in $100,000 fraud scheme
Update: Sixth Circuit Court ruled June 3 that "the facts and circumstances revealed do not warrant prosecution at this time."
Article published on Thursday, May 1, 2014
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LARGO – A Pinellas Park woman was arrested April 29, accused of defrauding an investor in her entertainment management company out of $100,000, according to Largo police.

Michele Defosse, 41, was charged with grand theft, scheming to defraud and communications fraud. As CEO and president of the company 2 Man Army Entertainment Inc., she reportedly convinced the victim to invest $100,000 in April 2013. The money was to secure a multimillion-dollar loan to fund the “Armor Down World Peace Tour,” police said.

The victim didn’t know that Defosse had no legitimate financial backing to promote such an event, police reported. Dufosse established relationships with various local and national charitable organizations in order to garner investors.

While telling the victim she was actively working to promote and obtain financial support for the tour, Defosse spent all of the victim’s money on personal expenses, within two months of receiving the funds, police reported. These included dining, clothing, groceries, court fines, cash withdrawals, a vehicle, a $10,000 deposit to host a boxing event and travel expenses.

She made many promises to the victim about large business deals, but when the victim asked for the funds to be returned, Defosse was unable to produce the money. She subsequently stopped communicating with the victim in August 2013.

Detective Amanda Misner of Largo Police Department’s economic crimes unit investigated the victim’s claims and concluded that Defosse’s activities were a scheme to defraud investors, after reviewing numerous bank records, state documents, business records as well as talking with other state agencies and people involved.

By using unsubstantiated fronts in an attempt to cover her expenses, Defosse claimed that all of her purchases were for legitimate business expenses related to the “world tour.” She further claimed that she was still seeking additional “investments” from other persons involved in local and national charitable organizations.

Defosse said she was planning to receive an additional $200,000 on May 2. Largo detectives said they have notified these unwitting “investors.”

Defosse was taken into custody and transported to the Pinellas County Jail. Bond was set at $100,050.

The Sixth Judicial Circuit Court issued a ruling June 3 in the case of the state of Florida vs. Michele Defosse on charges of grand theft, scheme to defraud-communications fraud and scheme to defraud, stating that the "facts and circumstances revealed do not warrant prosecution this time."

Updated to include June 3 ruling.
Article published on Thursday, May 1, 2014
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