Sentencing set for former Cay Clubs executive Clark, faces dozens of years

The former chief executive of the failed Cay Clubs Resorts and Marinas faces a February sentencing following his recent conviction on four federal felonies.

Fred "Dave" Clark Jr., 57, is scheduled to be sentenced at the Key West federal courthouse on Feb. 16 before U.S. District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez, who presided over Clark's two lengthy trials.

A federal probation officer has been assigned to file a presentencing report. Clark remained in custody at the federal Miami Detention Center at press time.

After a jury could not reach a verdict in Clark's first trial in August, he was convicted Dec. 11 after a five-week retrial. The jury returned guilty verdicts on three bank-fraud charges and a count of obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation by withholding information.

Federal authorities say Cay Clubs was a $300 million Ponzi scheme that resulted in 1,400 people and businesses losing investments.

The bank-fraud counts each carry a maximum sentence of 30 years. The case in the second trial focused on Clark's purchase of three units at the former Sombrero Resort in Marathon, controlled by Cay Clubs.

Prosecutors said Clark submitted documents listing phony buyers in "sham transactions" that concealed Clark's involvement. Banks then issued mortgages based on an unrealistic sales price.

Clark's defense attorney, Valentin Rodriguez, said Dec. 14 that Clark will file an appeal based on the judge's rejection of defense witnesses, who would have testified that bank loan officers knew the sales were made using "straw buyers."

Cristal Coleman Clark, who was also charged but was acquitted in the August trial, wrote a 1,283-word comment on a recent Keynoter story to say, "The media has a lot of incorrect information. The Clarks (we) lost everything as well, including our home."

Cristal Clark contended Cay Clubs condo-hotel units were sold at fair "market price list" rates during the real-estate bubble. "There was no artificial [price] inflation," she wrote. "People bought and received condominiums."

"Everyone deserves a fair trial and to be able to bring in all the testimony of witnesses and documents that would or could help their case. That did not happen here," she wrote of Dave Clark's recent conviction.

Cay Clubs was founded in 2004 in the Florida Keys, and went on to offer condo-hotel units in 17 properties in the Keys, Clearwater and Las Vegas. Many of the 1,400 buyers say they were misled by promises of steady income from unit rentals and insider sales that artificially inflated unit prices. Cay Clubs collapsed in 2008.