By Dee Morrison
MILWAUKEE, Mich. (WOOD) -- Two West Michigan menhave been charged with bank fraud after attempting to purchase ahalf-million dollar yacht using a Wisconsin man's identity.
Michael Vorce, 31, of Grand Rapids, and James Jett, 29, of ByronCenter, were arrested Tuesday in Chicago. According to federalcourt documents, the two men attempted to steal a Milwaukeelawyer's financial information to purchase a 48-foot Sea Ray yacht,listed at $549,000.
Vorce is accused of attempting to buy the yacht usingfinancial information of Michael Berzowski, a partner in aMilwaukee law firm. Documents show the online loan applicationcompleted on June 30 through Bank of the West's Essex Credit wasfor $391,450. On that application, Vorce listed his employer as"Weise, Berdwich, Brady LLP," the law firm Berzowki worksfor.
After filling out the online loan application, Vorce mailed whathe claimed to be Berzowski's 2006 and 2007 tax returns to Bank ofthe West.
Fraud investigators at the bank contacted the accountant listedon those tax returns, who then informed the bank he did not preparethe returns.
An FBI investigation was launched, which led authorities toChicago on Tuesday. That is where they arrested Vorce and Jettpicking up a Bank of the West package addressed to Berzowski.
News of this arrest brought calls to the 24 Hour News8 newsroom from acquaintances and former business partners,many angry.
Although his homes, boats, vehicles and fancy toys wereauctioned last year to pay off his debts, several sources told 24Hour News 8 Vorce has been seen in recent weeks still living thehigh life -- flaunting a new boat, buying expensive artwork andjewelry, and bragging about purchasing new condos.
So why was Vorce out-and-about instead of in prison for the WestMichigan case?
Investigators wouldn't comment about that as it's an ongoingcase. But Vorce hasn't been criminally charged or gone to trialhere yet.
Several law enforcement officials said white-collar crimessimply take a long time toprosecute.
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