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Disgraced Bergen Developer Spared Federal Prison In $4 Million Loan Scheme

Martin Luther King U.S. District Courthouse in Newark
Martin Luther King U.S. District Courthouse in Newark Photo Credit: COURTESY: justice.gov

Bergen County developer James Demetrakis was sentenced Wednesday to two years probation and ordered to pay a $75,000 fine by a federal judge for helping longtime associate Fred Dabies illegally obtain millions of dollars in bank loans.

Demetrakis, 79, admitted in U.S. District Court earlier this year that he and Dabies, his former business partner, conspired to skirt limits on how much in loans any individual can receive.

His April guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to make false entries to deceive a financial institution appeared to bolster the government’s case against Dabies, who was the founder and former chairman of Mariner's Bank, which handled the loans.

Dabies and his former chief financial officer, Michael McManus, remain under federal indictment in connection with a alleged series of illegal loans.

Federal authorities said Demetrakis helped secure more than $4 million in credit for Dabies by having himself and two of his relatives designated as borrowers.

Demetrakis admitted giving the money to Daibes without either of them telling the FDIC or Mariner's Bank that Daibes had any "beneficial interest" in the loans or that he would handle payments – which authorities said he didn’t.

Once the FDIC got suspicious, Dabies and others gave the FDIC a bogus backdated sales contract to make it seem as though Demetrakis had obtained the $1.8 million loan from Mariner’s Bank in order to pay Daibes for his interest in a real estate deal, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.

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