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Bank records examined in Moncure case

Fredericksburg police obtained warrants this week to search eight banks for financial records of a local real estate investor being investigated on complaints of fraud.

Police got warrants to search Virginia Partners Bank, Central Pacific Bank, Chase Bank, Union First Market Bank, Stellar One Bank, PNC Bank, Bank of America and BB&T for financial records associated with James Ashby Moncure and his wife between January 2009 and this March 14, according to documents in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.

The Fredericksburg Police Department and FBI for the past couple of weeks have been investigating claims that Moncure, 41, obtained millions of dollars by false pretense from dozens of people and failed to repay the money as promised.

Detective Wayne Hunnicutt, a fraud investigation specialist leading the case for the city police, is receiving daily phone calls about more individuals who loaned Moncure money, police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said.

Last week, police searched a home at 1200 William St. in the city that Moncure has owned since July 2011 and seized financial records and computer hardware. According to the search warrant affidavit filed at that time, there may be at least 30 individuals who lent Moncure money totaling more than $13 million that “was not used what it was intended for” and was not repaid.

Bledsoe said Hunnicutt will meet with the FBI on Friday and should have a better idea then about the number of noteholders and financial losses.

Moncure told individuals that he would use the money to make real estate investments in the area, according to court documents.

Moncure is a partner in the Quantico Corporate Center development in North Stafford and owns all or parts of 16 different properties, most of which are in the area, according to a financing statement filed in Fredericksburg Circuit Court.

The properties are owned either by Moncure himself or through limited liability companies in which he is involved. Those LLCs include Moncure Valley, Saranna, Quantico Business Center, Quantico Business Center II, Moncure Brothers and Minor Moncure.

Union First Market Bank and a division of the Silver Cos. are among those with claims against Moncure, according to court documents.

Silver Capital, a division of the development firm, this past August lent Moncure $400,000 in the form of a promissory note, according to the financing statement. The loan was to be repaid with proceeds from sales of real estate Moncure owns.

Union First Market Bank recently received a judgment of roughly $1.9 million in Caroline Circuit Court against Moncure. The judgment, which involved four separate cases, also requires Moncure to pay the bank 18 percent interest and costs.

The investigation into Moncure began following a long email he sent people to whom he owed money and others in the community early on the morning of March 4. The email indicated that Moncure would not be able to repay the promissory notes despite his original good intentions.

Moncure is represented by attorney Steven T. Webster of the Alexandria-based law firm Webster Book LLP. Webster said in an email that he has been asked to make “appropriate arrangements” to repay Moncure’s lenders. He asked the community to withhold judgments until all the facts are known.

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 is already involved in the investigation, may soon take over the case.

No charges have been filed.

It is unclear how the borrowed money was used. In his March 4 email to noteholders, Moncure referenced that he used an Ameritrade account and became overextended. The email also noted the risks of using leverage and the options market.

Numerous people who received the March 4 email contacted authorities to report their concern about Moncure’s well-being. The married father of two was found unharmed in Stafford later that morning.

Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405