James Demetrakis pleads guilty to insider scam at Fred Daibes bankApril 13, 2019
When someone is arrested and charged with a crime in New Jersey, police departments observe a protocol that includes the reading of Miranda Rights.
James Demetrakis, the powerful Bergen County-based real estate developer on Friday admitted his role in helping his longtime associate Fred Daibes obtain nominee loans from Mariner’s Bank, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Demetrakis, 79, pleaded guilty to U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to one count of conspiracy to make false entries to deceive a financial institution and the FDIC. He faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced on July 23.
The guilty plea entered Friday is a significant development in the federal government’s case against Daibes and his chief financial officer, Michael McManus. Daibes and McManus were indicted in October and charged with arranging a series of crooked loans through the Mariner’s Bank, the financial institution that was founded by Daibes.
James Demetrakis, at an Englewood Planning Board meeting in 2012. (Photo: Michael Karas, MICHAEL KARAS/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)
The charges against Daibes and McManus are still pending. The guilty plea by Demetrakis suggests that the U.S. Attorney’s Office may have a cooperating witness to help them press the insider lending case against Daibes and McManus, should it come to trial.
Demetrakis could not be reached for comment on Friday, and the voicemail box of his attorney, Edward J. Plaza was full. His reversal of fortune came as a shock in Englewood, where he sits on the Board of Adjustment.
Mayor Michael Wildes was taken aback when informed of Demetrakis’ guilty plea. But he spoke highly of Demetrakis’ contributions and his keen eye for real estate.
“He’s an iconic figure in Bergen County. He’s got some of the best eyes” for real estate, Wildes said. “He’s a very thoughtful and talented developer. This must be a difficult time for him and his family.”
Wildes said he didn’t know enough about the case, so he won’t ask Demetrakis to resign from the Englewood zoning board.
“No, I’m going to wait,” Wildes said. “I’m going to have to read the papers.”
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Exceeding lending limits
According to the documents filed in this case and the related case against Fred Daibes and Michael McManus, Demetrakis admitted conspiring with Daibes and others to obtain a nominee loan from Mariner’s Bank that circumvented both the bank’s lending limits and the FDIC.