Construction Business Owner Arrested on Organized Scheme to Defraud

 The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State Attorney's Office, 10th Judicial Circuit, today announce the arrest of Ian Robert Stewart, 44, of Davenport, Fla. on charges of grand theft and organized scheme to defraud. Stewart is the owner of Marchstone Homes and R&I Construction, Inc., located in Davenport.

In January 2008, Stewart formed a business partnership with another individual and established R&I Construction Inc. for the purpose of purchasing depressed real estate properties in order to refurbish and resell them for profit. Stewart identified a property located at 2205 Ronald Regan Parkway in Davenport and told his business partner that he had purchased the property, which was in an early stage of construction, for $125,000. The investigation revealed that Stewart never owned the property and he had furnished his partner with fraudulent warranty and quit claim deeds as proof of purchase.

The investigation revealed that between January 2008 and August 2009, Stewart used business funds to travel throughout Florida and Europe. During this same time period, Stewart allegedly did not make any deposits into the business account or conduct any company business and continued the scheme until all of his business partner’s funds were depleted.

A second victim was defrauded out of approximately $32,650 after Stewart fraudulently contracted to sell him the same Davenport home. In November 2008, the victim, believing that he had purchased the home from Stewart, began making monthly payments in the amount of $2,000. The payments continued until May 2010. The construction on the house was never completed.

The investigation also revealed that Stewart never actually owned the Davenport home but had been aware that the original owner had left the United States and relocated to Spain.

Stewart was charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony; one count of grand theft over $100,000, a first-degree felony; and one count of grand theft over $20,000, a second-degree felony. Stewart was booked into the Polk County Jail

The case is still ongoing and investigators anticipate additional charges. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office, 10th Judicial Circuit.

For Further Information Contact:
Heather Smith, Kristen Chernosky or Mike Morrison
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001