Virginia Beach business owner pleads guilty in $3.9 million fraud case

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Virginia Beach man pleaded guilty Tuesday to money laundering in connection with a fraud scheme that resulted in a loss of $3.9 million.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Edward Zinner, 58, operated Ocean Equity, a collection of businesses that engaged in credit card processing and merchant cash advances.

In operating Ocean Equity, Zinner and others acting on his behalf, provided false representations to private investors and lenders to obtain over $4.5 million in funds.

Zinner spent large amounts of company money on personal expenditures, including, travel, vehicle expenses, gambling, day-trading, mortgage payments, renovations to his personal residence, medical bills, personal credit cards, a rock band, and other expenditures.

From 2011 to 2016, approximately $2 million was transferred from the Ocean Equity accounts to Zinner’s personal accounts, says the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In addition to the $4.5 million from private investors and lenders, Zinner obtained six business loans for Ocean Equity in the amount of $3 million. In obtaining these loans, Zinner falsely represented that the loans would not be used for personal, family or household purposes.

Zinner faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on Feb. 6, 2018. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.