Prominent NYC Real Estate Developer Charged in $86M Fraud Scheme

Published by FOX Business | February 8, 2024

The case stems from a failed luxury condo project called 'The XI' and 34-story office skyscraper dubbed '29th & 5th'

A once high-flying New York real estate developer and several other industry executive bigwigs have been indicted for stealing more than $86 million from investors and subcontractors through a years-long series of frauds and schemes, Manhattan prosecutors say.

Nir Meir, 49, who was the managing principal at the now-shuttered real estate investment company HFZ Capital Group, and the executives have been charged with varying counts of larceny, conspiracy, falsifying business records, tax fraud and money laundering.

The case stems largely from a failed luxury Manhattan condo project called “The XI,” located along the High Line in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan’s West Side, as well as a 34-story office skyscraper in NoMad dubbed “29th & 5th.”

According to prosecutors, Meir hired the construction company Omnibuild in 2015 to construct two mixed-use commercial and residential towers at the Chelsea site.

He directed the project’s funds, totaling more than $253 million in four years, to be transferred to various LLCs controlled by HFZ. The assets were primarily diverted to cover financial shortfalls on unrelated HFZ projects and, at times, to personal accounts controlled by HFZ executives.

It led to a shortfall of more than $37 million owed to Omnibuild and its subcontractors, prosecutors say. 

In an attempt to fill this shortfall with funds and hide the true cost of work from the project lender, Omnibuild executives John Mingione, 54; Roy Galifi, 62; and Kevin Stewart, 48, conspired with Meir; HFZ executives Anthony Marrone, 64, and Louis Della-Peruta, 69; and various subcontractors to inflate their monthly invoices’ “percentage of completion.” 

This was done to make it appear to the lender that the subcontractors were further along in the project than they actually were. 

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