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Two charged with defrauding business owners out of $2 million

(HOFFMAN ESTATES) Two men who allegedly swindled $2 million in “advance fees” from more than 100 business owners nationwide are facing federal fraud charges.

Alberto B. Colon , 46, and Artemio Rivera, 56, of the Commercial or Residential Development Group, Inc., were each charged with four counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Colon, of West Dundee, was chairman of the board and CEO; and Rivera, of Falls Church, Va., was treasurer and chief corporate counsel, according to the statement. Their now-defunct company, also known as COR, had a mailing address in Hoffman Estates.

The duo defrauded business owners between September 2008 and December 2011 by claiming that COR had billions of dollars in assets and would provide business owners with billions of dollars in funding, prosecutors allege.

They solicited business owners themselves and also used “rangers” to solicit owners to apply for funding, according to the statement. They fraudulently represented that COR had approved requests for funding between $100 million to $1.2 billion, prosecutors allege.

As part of the scheme, Colon and Rivera also made false statements in proceedings before the Illinois Department of Securities, according to the statement.

The indictment seeks for forfeiture of $2 million from both defendants, according to the statement.