A man who allegedly used Ponzi-like schemes to deceive more than a dozen people out of a combined $1.5 million has been arrested on federal charges.
Scott Wolas, 67, was arrested Friday in Delray Beach, Florida, according to the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's Office. He is charged with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection with the development of the former Beachcomber Bar in Quincy.
He appeared in U.S. District Court in Florida on Friday morning and is expected to return to Massachusetts at a later date to appear in federal court in Boston.
Quincy police had issued a warrant for Wolas's arrest last fall on charges of larceny, embezzlement and identity theft. He had warrants for similar charges out of New York and Alabama.
In Quincy, authorities say Wolas deceived around 16 people out of a combined $1.5 million.
Wolas also went by the names Eugene Grathwohl, Frank Amolsch, Drew Prescott, Allen Hengst, Endicott Asquith and Cameron Sturge.
According to court documents, from at least 2009 through 2016, Wolas, under his Grathwohl alias, operated a real estate business known as Increasing Fortune, Inc. and worked as a licensed real estate agent for Century 21 in Quincy.
From 2014 through 2016, he solicited investments for the development of the Beachcomber Bar property on Quincy Shore Drive and for the construction of a single-family home on the adjacent property.
He collected more than $1.5 million from at least 19 investors and promised each of them a significant return on their investments. He allegedly promised to pay out at least 125 percent of the profits related to the single-family home construction.
Wolas was scheduled to close on the Beachcomber property on Sept. 15, 2016. A week before, he left Quincy and ceased all contact with his then-girlfriend, his co-workers, and his investors.
Law enforcement then discovered that Grathwohl was actually Wolas, a former lawyer who had been a fugitive since 1997 after being charged with fraud and grand larceny in New York. The real Eugene Grathwohl resides in Florida and is a friend of Wolas’ ex-wife.
The court documents also indicate that the bank account into which Wolas deposited investor funds has been drained, and that Wolas used the money mostly for his personal expenses unrelated to development of the real estate projects.
Wolas had last been seen in Massachusetts on Sept. 15 at the UMass/JFK MBTA station.