A federal grand jury here yesterday indicted three persons - including a thrice-convicted Washington man described by prosecutors as an "international mutual bond swindler" and another man who was the former owner of the now-defunct Occidental restaurant here - in connection with a complelx fraud scheme involving the loss of at least $500,000.
Named in the 32-count indictment were H. Neil Kelly, of 4809 Bending La. NW, whose most recent conviction was in a Florida mail fraud case last year; Daniel Price, of 2922 Fessenden St. NW, who owned the restaurant at 1411 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, and Thomas Cuni, of 3028 Village Dr., Edgewood, Ky.
The scheme with which the three men were charged involved the alleged fraud of failing businesses drafts from an Antiguan development bank called the Antilles Bank and Trust, according to the charges.
Among the businesses and corporations induced into giving money to the defendants was the Ambassador Hotel in Washington, according to the indictment.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian W. Shaughnessy asked that an arrest warrant be issued immediately yesterday for Kelly because of his past convictions and because he is "a highly mobile individual." U.S. District Chief Judge William B. Byrant signed the order for the warrant.
Investigators said yesterday that the scheme with which the three men were charged worked in two basic ways.
In the first, the defendants would appproach a failing business and offer to supply funding and financial assistance, the investigators said. The defendants would use as credit the worthless Antilles checks against which the business's bills would be paid, the investigators added.
In the meantime - and before the worthlessness of the Antilles checks was discovered - the defendants would tell the businesses that they needed cash to continue aiding the businesses, according to the charges.
In another version of the scheme, the defendants would collect invoices showing shipments of large qunatities of copying paper to what turned out to be a nonexistent Washington firm. The defendants allegedly would use those massive bills and alleged payments for those bills to justify larger lines of credit from American banks.