Updated: Wednesday, 08 Oct 2008, 1:23 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 29 Aug 2008, 11:03 AM EDT
By Dee Morrison
MILWAUKEE, Mich. (WOOD) -- Two West Michigan men have been charged with bank fraud after attempting to purchase a half-million dollar yacht using a Wisconsin man's identity.
Michael Vorce, 31, of Grand Rapids, and James Jett, 29, of Byron Center, were arrested Tuesday in Chicago. According to federal court documents, the two men attempted to steal a Milwaukee lawyer's financial information to purchase a 48-foot Sea Ray yacht, listed at $549,000.
Vorce is accused of attempting to buy the yacht using financial information of Michael Berzowski, a partner in a Milwaukee law firm. Documents show the online loan application completed on June 30 through Bank of the West's Essex Credit was for $391,450. On that application, Vorce listed his employer as "Weise, Berdwich, Brady LLP," the law firm Berzowki works for.
After filling out the online loan application, Vorce mailed what he claimed to be Berzowski's 2006 and 2007 tax returns to Bank of the West.
Fraud investigators at the bank contacted the accountant listed on those tax returns, who then informed the bank he did not prepare the returns.
An FBI investigation was launched, which led authorities to Chicago on Tuesday. That is where they arrested Vorce and Jett picking up a Bank of the West package addressed to Berzowski.
News of this arrest brought calls to the 24 Hour News 8 newsroom from acquaintances and former business partners, many angry.
Although his homes, boats, vehicles and fancy toys were auctioned last year to pay off his debts, several sources told 24 Hour News 8 Vorce has been seen in recent weeks still living the high life -- flaunting a new boat, buying expensive artwork and jewelry, and bragging about purchasing new condos.
So why was Vorce out-and-about instead of in prison for the West Michigan case?
Investigators wouldn't comment about that as it's an ongoing case. But Vorce hasn't been criminally charged or gone to trial here yet.
Several law enforcement officials said white-collar crimes simply take a long time to prosecute.
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