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West Michigan boat broker Michael Vorce indicted on bank fraud by federal grand jury
by Chris Knape | The Grand Rapids Press
Thursday November 06, 2008, 2:27 PM
GRAND RAPIDS -- West Michigan boat broker Michael Vorce was indicted by a federal grand jury this afternoon on 15 counts ranging from bank fraud to using a false identity to open bank accounts.
The 24-page indictment alleges Vorce fraudulently obtained more than $27 million from 10 lenders, most in the Grand Rapids area.
The indictment marks the first time Vorce, 32, has faced criminal charges related to loans taken out at the banks using bogus collateral and fraudulent title work.
Read the indictment against Michael Vorce
The alleged fraud touched many West Michigan financial institutions.
The largest loans were $9.2 million by Holland-based Macatawa Bank, $8.6 million by the Grandville branch of Irwin Union Financial and $4.7 million by Lake Michigan Credit Union, based in Grand Rapids.
Vorce has been locked in a Milwaukee jail since late August when he and friend James Jett, a Byron Township resident, were arrested near Chicago. They are charged with attempting to defraud a bank and stealing the identity of a Milwaukee-area attorney as part of another apparent boat loan scheme.
A Press investigation in 2007 found a trail of paperwork showing how Vorce used bogus paperwork to secure titles for boats he didn't own or that did not exist. He used those titles as collateral to borrow millions of dollars from banks.
Vorce apologized to the banks which had seized and auctioned his assets. Many sued him in civil court, but he was not charged criminally in West Michigan until today. He was living in a gated mansion in Alpine Township until his Chicago arrest.
The arrest occurred despite Vorce's apparent cooperation with law enforcement in the West Michigan case. Court records in Milwaukee indicate the case that led to his arrest was part of a larger, multi-state fraud case.
That arrest occurred despite Vorce knowing he was being watched by law enforcement officers in West Michigan as their investigation into his loan activity here dragged on.