FEDS: Former Chairman of Riviera Beach Housing Authority Pleads Guilty to Extortion for Kickback Payments

Delvin Thomas, 44, of West Palm Beach, could face a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to authorities. Image: LinkedIn.

MIAMI, FL – West Palm Beach, Fla. Delvin Thomas, 44, has pleaded guilty to one count of extortion after using his presidential position to receive kickbacks from real-estate transactions. Thomas will be sentenced on March 3, 2023, before Judge Kenneth Marra.

According to officials, around April 2019, Thomas was the chairman of the Riviera Beach Housing Authority, during which time the authority sought to purchase real estate located in Riviera Beach for low-income rental property. Thomas introduced a real estate broker to the Riviera Beach Housing Authority person responsible for purchasing the property, and the Riviera Beach Housing Authority entered into a contract with the broker to purchase the property.

The broker was to get three per cent commission on the purchase of the property. Once the contract to buy the property was entered into, Thomas told the broker that he, Thomas, was to receive a 50 percent commission for its sale. At closing, the broker’s company was paid a commission of $18,930. To hide the illegal payment of Thomas’s 50 percent share, Thomas contacts a straw party to act as a front for this illegal activity.

The Straw Party (or Front) agreed to deposit two checks issued into Front’s business bank account and then issued checks from said account to Sire Development Group LLC, a company owned by Thomas. Two checks for the amounts of $6,400 and $3,065 were issued to the front’s company account. This represents 50 percent of the commission received by the broker. Falsely stated in the check memo section that were for payment “company branding” And “marketing services.” The forger then issued two checks in the amounts of $6,400 and $3,000 to Thomas’ company, Sire Development Group LLC – falsely stating in the memo section of the checks that the payments were for “consulting services.”

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Thomas could face a statutory maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Juan Antonio Gonzalez, US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Robert M. DeWitt, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.

The FBI investigated the matter. Prosecuting the case was Assistant US Attorney Jeffrey N. carried out by Kaplan.

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