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Michael Stevens of Palm Coast held on $1 Million Bond in Money Laundering Scheme

| October 18, 2012

Michael Stevens. (FCSO)

A 45-year-old Palm Coast man is being held on $1 million bond in the Flagler County Inmate Facility after being charged with money laundering and structuring.

Michael Stevens of 8 Calusa Court was arrested at his home Wednesday on a warrant charging him with money laundering in connection with a Flagler County- based business known as Dark Hawk Enterprises, LLC. Several similarly-named businesses are registered through the Florida Department of State, all of them bearing Stevens’s name, or that of Anthony Fregenti–Darkhawk Cycles Inc., Darkhawk Cycles LLC, DarkHawk International Inc., and Dark Hawk Cycles Enterprises LLC

The charging affidavit says that from 2003 to 2011, Stevens was registered as the president of the business and Fregenti, also of Palm Coast, was listed as a manager and associated dealer. Fregenti was arrested in September 2010 on a warrant charging him with running an organized scheme to defraud.

Anthony Fregenti.

In that instance, Fregenti was charged with being involved in a fraud scheme where either vehicles or motorcycles were to be purchased and sold overseas to a Saudi Arabian prince. Investors gave Fregenti money to buy the cars with the promise of a return on the investments once the vehicles were sold, according to investigators.

Stevens is charged with taking money from Fregenti and running it through the Dark Hawk Enterpries, LLC, and Dark Hawk Cycles, LLC, before returning it to Fregenti and to himself for his personal use. Both men were listed with the companies as either agents or managers. Under the investment fraud scheme, Stevens was to have purchased motorcycles and later sell them to buyers with a return of the profit going back to the investors. No motorcycles were ever purchased and the investors never saw their money again. Stevens is charged with taking money from Fregenti and running it through the company, before returning it to Fregenti.

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Office partnered with Investigators from State Attorney R. J. Larriza’s office to investigate the business dealings when investors began complaining that they were not seeing any returns from their investments. One couple invested some $166,000 with Dark Hawk Enterprises, LLC which lead to Stevens’ arrest. Investigators said Stevens’ siphoned $85,000 of the money to pay a “floor plan”, a debt incurred for motorcycles he had already purchased and sold, but had used the money profits.

Detective Nate Flach with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said Stevens took the couple’s money and deposited it into the business account. He then would withdraw money in increments of $9,000, to avoid a federal transaction reporting requirement and spent the money for his and Fregenti’s personal use.

“There were many people duped by these two men and many who lost large sums of money that they couldn’t afford to lose,” said Sheriff Don Fleming. “We were able to partner with the State Attorney’s Office to investigate this operation and collect enough evidence to finally charge Mr. Stevens.”

Additional charges are pending as the investigation continues.

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26 Responses for “Michael Stevens of Palm Coast held on $1 Million Bond in Money Laundering Scheme”

  1. Biker says:

    Why is Tony still out driving around town in late model exotic sports cars??

  2. Astonished says:

    I was absolutely astounded to read about this. I don’t know this gentleman too well but I have met him at the bar/restaurant McCharacter’s a few times. I can’t speculate regarding his alleged offense, his guilt or his innocence, but he seemed like a nice guy. I think he is either related to the owners of McCharacter’s or is the fiancée of one of the owners. Some may recall that this gentleman and his fiancée got into a horrible motorcycle accident last year and one of his legs had to be amputated above the knee. His fiancé lost one of her feet in the accident. Instead of feeling sorry for themselves, the couple started a charitable organization for amputees. It’s a real shame if he is involved in this sordid affair.

  3. Gia says:

    In USA never give money without investigation before doing business.

  4. Geezer says:

    They should have bought companies and “harvested” them like Bain Capitol.
    You know……….ruin lives and plunder LEGALLY. (Tax benefits too)

    • Magnolia says:

      Or maybe invested offshore, like the President.

      • Geezer says:

        Oh, in a Romney-owned offshore company?
        ……..That makes magic underwear?
        A BAIN-harvested magic underwear company from Utah?

        I have to go now, I can’t stop laughing at your comment.
        I’m convulsing with unbridled laughing fits.
        Thanks for making me laugh!

        Bless your heart, Mam.

  5. Ralph says:

    I remember feeling sorry for this guy when he was in the news just about a year ago as a result of a motorcycle accident. I no longer do, and I wonder if those who participated in the fund raisers that were held for him feel a bit cheated right now.

    • leah says:

      dont believe eveything you hear….wait til the facts are in !

      • Sam says:

        Innocent until proven guilty. You can’t believe everything you read or hear. So don’t go jumping to conclusions about his innocence or guilt. Give the man a chance to defend himself before you believe anything. I am personally very close to this family and will support them all the way.

  6. Donna Heiss says:

    I can’t let this go. While the community was fundraising tirelessly for med. bills and giving support, Mike was laundering money and driving around in a sports car?

    I have learned over the years to pick and choose causes very carefully. This is not one I became involved in. I took a wait see approach. I’m glad I did.

    I will wait to see the outcome, but in the mean time, it’s disgusting.

    • Michael Stevens says:

      You might want to watch your allegations till proven guilty and I was really driving a sports car around when we returned from our accident and hosted our fundraiser? I was driving and owned a 2000 LR2 Land Rover with over 200k miles worth approximately $4k. A far cry from a sports car but again my real, true, friends and supporters would have known that. But those who are bored with there mediocre lives and need 15 minutes of enlightenment to ridicule or damage my character please keep making more of this comments as they only solidify my innocence and there speculative lies.

      • Joe says:

        I don’t particularly care if this man is innocent or not, what he does with his paper is his business I mean at least he wasn’t out hurting people. I just do not understand this corrupt justice system, Michael gets a Million Dollar Bail put on him for some money discrepancies but a guy who was recently arrested for putting a .45 round into his children’s home gets only a 2,000 dollar bail. Wake up people.

  7. Destiny says:

    Iam Michael Stevens fiancé and I just wanted to say a little something. First off I support my fiancé 100% and I KNOW that he is innocent of these allegations .. I ask the public to please not specualate on something u read in the paper or on this website… Michael is the most generous person I have ever met and the hardest working man I’ve ever met … He was used by tony Fregenti and is being framed ! The truth will come out and and Than u will see that Michael Stevens is a wonderful man . To comment on some posts about our accident and our charity we are truly thankful for everyone in the community for all your donations to help us pay for our medical bills and that is exactly what that money was used for .. Trust me if we had the money we would have never put together a benefit … My heart breaks to read some of these comments bc he is a good man… I understand that when u read something like this that sounds so horrible u judge and speculate but please believe me when I say Michael is innocent … I’m extremely worried for his safety being an amputee but I know he is a strong man and will overcome and adapt and HE WILL PROVE HIS INNOCENCE TO THIS COMMUNITY … Thank you ,
    His loving fiancé

  8. Wayne says:

    There has to be more to this story ! I know mike personally and have never seen any behavior that would lead me to believe he would be this kind of person . I want to hear all the facts. Mike is a good man . he is not the type to do this kind of thing .and jeopardize his bessness and his life . he has been thou many things ! Served his country in the marines and built a business from the bottom up .He knows want it is like to struggle and to be taken advantage of . thats way i have trouble believing this . He a guy that has spent many hours of his time to help ours when he just went though a horrific accident .the only thing ive ever seen from him was complete unselfishness and compassion . someone like that doest deceive people . I want the facts !! Don’t judge until we know the whole story !

    • Not surprised says:

      I am not surprised by this at all. I also know mike personally and this comes as no shock to me at all. He might have served his country in the military but he has also served more than five years in prison for drug related charges.

      • JoeJolley says:

        Even the sale of drugs is a legitimate business model where goods/services are provided at a cost. Slim is flashy, loud and a lot of other things, but a thief isn’t one of them.

      • Biker says:

        Not Suprised- I was wondering why there is a total of 1 million bail. Ths is very unusual in the this county for anything short of violent ctimes. Bail usually relates to the strength of the case that the prosecutor has, as well as the possibilty of flight of the accused. Being a previously convicted felon facing a heavy jail sentence, it would make sense why the flight risk would be consdered higher and the high bail would be justified. Never new that about Mike, a five year sentence for drugs usually involve serious weight.

      • Michael Stevens says:

        First off I never served five years in prison it was three years for Marijuana related charges and if you truly did know me personally then you would have known this. I served my time for a stupid, youthful mistake and it was a truly, life changing experience for me in a positive light. Lying or trying to slander someone’s name or character is also illegal in case you were not aware of this? But what I am not surprised is how many lying, or judge mental people rose to this occasion to throw me and my name under the bus. I will be posting a letter explaining what has happened to me as a result of the few, minimal dealings ive had with the true criminal in these allegations, Fregenti….and to all of those who really know me and are not pretending too for there 15 minutes of fame on here, will understand and believe in me still. there is an immense amount of false or misleading information in this story listed above which I will include along with legal letters to the media entities posting these untrue or misinterperted facts. I have every amount a proof clearing me from any illegal activity in these charges as well as anything pertaining to my company of almost ten years. And for all of those who were kind enough to donate to our benefit, we thank you sincerely! But those of you who also donated but then quickly cast judgement & begin speculating with comments on this or other sites that we have duped you from your donation or that the funds were not allocated to as much of our medical bills as it could cover, I would be glad to not only furnish every receipt of payments, but refund you your donations in full. I only want those who were compassionate to our need at the time, not people who doubted the real reason we needed a benefit. I only want positive and compassionate people in my corner and this mess has only helped me weed out those fake, negative people like this supposed aquantence “not surprised” who ever they are…. Stay tuned for the correct info and more importantly the truth. It is also ironic how solid the DA’s case is that there million dollar bail imploded to $95k upon the retaining of my counsel….. I wonder if you we’re aware of this to my so called not surprised buddy?

        • kathy kauth says:

          Dear Michael. I don’t know you but I really feel for you. Read the Racketeer by John Grisham and also move out of Florida and back to America. Hope this is a federal charge and not state.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi slim.
          I just found this site talking about what is happing to you.
          I want to say that when my friend and myself came from New Zealand to buy a couple of Harley’s and ride coast to coast across the states you really looked after us amazing.
          You got use great deals on our bikes and you made us free safe and comfortable.
          I still have my Harley after all these years with great memories of you.
          Blessings to you

  9. JoeJolley says:

    I’ve had a working relationship with Slim for almost 6 years. He was a legitimate businessman, a hell of a salesman and had a killer work ethic to lift his Dark Hawk Cycles brand from the ground up. I honestly believe that he was used by this Fregenti guy, otherwise, he had two years to bail out of the U.S. on someone else’s dime. Why would he stick around? (Besides his lovely fiancee, of course). FREE SLIM!

  10. Justice served says:

    I worked with and lived by fregenti for several years and he always had tons of motorcycles and cars going in and out of his house and business that I know he purchased and sold. Matter of fact the first time I met fregenti he had over 20 motorcycles and 4 cars at his home that I personally saw loaded on a truck to be shipped out to buyers, so reports that he never used his investors money to do this is completely untrue. He never had any problems until he partnered with mike stevens. The truth will come out and I am glad to see that this new investigator is actually doing his job and uncovering the real evidence. Fregenti was jailed because of accusations mike has been jailed due to real evidence

    • Michael Stevens says:

      This justice served comments sound like they actually are coming from Fregenti himself? Same prosecutor as my case so I guess you think they dropped the ball on the solid evidence against Fregenti who was arrested 2 years ago when the actually crimes occurred, and not 2 years later on the eve of this Fregenti’s trial with vague evidence at best. Why also are all those who were investors with this Fregenti and civilly suing him currently for the the real fraud in these cases still very friendly with me but despise Fregenti? Do the math, think then speak as silence is always a virtue you may entertain…..

  11. Candy says:

    I’d like to begin by addressing those ppl so quick to trash Michael. Before you pass judgement, perhaps you’d be wise to wait for the facts to come out, but, seeing some of the comments that were made ‘wise’ probably doesn’t pertain to your way of thinking.
    There are many words that could be used to describe my son but thief definitely isn’t one of them !! He has one of the most generous and kindest hearts around so for you to be so quick to think he’d actually go through a traumatic accident (with Destiny) only to set up a foundation for his own benefit sickens me. Their benefit has already provided a retired police officer with a new electric wheelchair to get around with, he’s helping another amputee receive an updated prosthetic, and others as well.
    The real criminal is out on the street so maybe you should place your hateful remarks towards him instead of my son.
    And to set things straight, he was incarcerated for 1 1/2 yrs. not 5 for a marijuana charge – not mass murder @@
    Am I biased, you bet your life I am but more so because I know type of person Michael is and he would never ever willingly deceive or rob anyone of their hard earned money. He works too hard to do that to others when he’s struggling to keep his business afloat.
    So in closing, try a unique process – think before you speak or write something you have no knowledge about.

  12. Greenleaf says:

    Slim & Destiny,
    I knew you both personally and know all of this is bullshit. You both are good people, and ultimately, the truth will come out. Unfortunately, you ended up in the path of destruction that Tony started, but everything will work out like its supposed to. Because karma is a b**ch & it’s coming after Tony. Stay strong, don’t let these comments get to you, because the people that know you, will stand by your side. Consider this situation a way to filter out all of the fake people in your life. Because if your friends or family are going to judge you based on an article in a local newspaper, you don’t need them in your life anyways. It may sound corny, but the truth shall set you free. And it will clear your name off all this. Keeping you guys in my thoughts…

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