Local real estate investor’s borrowing under scrutiny
Police are investigating multiple fraud complaints totaling millions of dollars against a Fredericksburg-area real estate investor with longstanding ties to the community.
Over the past week, the Fredericksburg Police Department has been investigating claims that Quantico Corporate Center partner James Ashby Moncure obtained millions of dollars by false pretense from dozens of people and failed to repay the money as promised.
The investigation followed a long email that Moncure, 41, sent people to whom he owed money and others in the community early on the morning of March 4.
The email, which is referenced in a search warrant affidavit, indicated that Moncure would not be able to repay the promissory notes despite his original good intentions.
“I am ultimately responsible for your Notes and the mishandling of finances,” he wrote in the email. “You are all such wonderful people, retirees, business owners, the young, the old. You all believed in me. And I have failed you. I’m truly, truly sorry!”
Fredericksburg police detective Wayne Hunnicutt, who focuses on fraud investigations, on Tuesday obtained the warrant to search a house and outbuildings at 1200 William St. in the city that Moncure has owned since July 2011.
Hunnicutt seized financial records and computer hardware, according to documents filed Wednesday morning in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.
According to the search warrant affidavit, there may be at least 30 individuals who loaned Moncure money totaling more than $13 million that “was not used what it was intended for” and was not repaid.
Moncure told individuals that he would use the money to make real estate investments involving the Quantico Corporate Center in North Stafford, according to the affidavit. Moncure and his two brothers, George and John, are partners in the QCC project between U.S. 1 and Interstate 95 near the Quantico Marine Corps Base.
In 2004, the brothers took ownership of the land, which has turned into a thriving office park, from Stafford County. It was then called Fritter Park.
In exchange for the QCC land, the county received 180 acres off Widewater Road that the Moncures owned. That land is now Patawomeck Park.
The Moncures later partnered with the Silver Cos. to develop the QCC, which now includes four separate office buildings totaling about 450,000 square feet, a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, a Navy Federal Credit Union, The Globe & Laurel Restaurant and a multi-tenant retail building.
More projects are in the pipeline, and plans are in the works to extend Corporate Drive all the way through the development from U.S. 1 to Telegraph Road.
Last year, Stafford County paid $3.4 million for a 13-acre parcel along I–95 at the QCC that the county, along with its academic and business partners, hope to develop into a technology and research park.
None of the money that James Moncure borrowed was used toward the development of the QCC, said Jud Honaker, Silver’s president of commercial development and one of the partners in the project. He said the other partners were not aware that Moncure was borrowing money.
It’s unclear how the borrowed money was used. In his email to noteholders, Moncure referenced that he used an Ameritrade account and got overextended. The email also noted the risks of using leverage and the options market.
“Gambling is a disease I can’t beat and my situation just exacerbated that disease,” he wrote. “My weakness was for the market. My misguided solution to debt was the market.”
Honaker has been meeting with people who loaned James Moncure money in an effort to help.
Numerous people who received the March 4 email from James Moncure contacted authorities to report their concern about his well-being. The married father of two was found unharmed in Stafford later that morning.
Honaker said Moncure is now receiving treatment.
The charge that Moncure is being investigated for—obtaining money by false pretense—is a Class 4 felony punishable in Virginia by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
The FBI, which has already been involved in the investigation, may soon take over the case.
The Fredericksburg Police Department will meet with the agency Friday about that possibility, said spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405