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Prominent NYC developer Nir Meir held on $5M bail in fraud case

A former Big Apple luxury condo development bigwig charged in a sprawling $86 million fraud scheme will remain behind bars on a $5 million cash bond – despite begging a New York judge on Wednesday to cut him loose because he’s broke.

Nir Meir, 49, spoke at length in his own defense as he pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday – two weeks after the ex-managing principal of the HFZ Capital Group was slapped with charges of grand larceny, tax fraud and falsifying business records.

“I’m a 49-year-old guy, never had any priors, never been arrested in my life. I am an upstanding citizen all my life,” the former exec told Judge Ann Thompson as he made his unsuccessful bid for release.


Nir Meir is arraigned for his role in the $86 million fraud involving HFZ Capital Group and others that we announced two weeks ago.
Nir Meir is arraigned for his role in the $86 million fraud involving HFZ Capital Group and others that we announced two weeks ago. Steven Hirsch

Meir, who was extradited to the Big Apple after his arrest in Miami Beach, Florida on a warrant, is accused of masterminding the alleged scheme to swindle millions from investors, subcontractors and New York City during his five years working at the since-shuttered HFZ firm.

Speaking for roughly seven minutes, Meir noted that he was in the middle of a divorce, was the sole provider for his three underage kids and was forced to declare bankruptcy earlier this month.

“Due to my financial difficulties during COVID and until now, I had no choice, because I have no assets and I have overwhelming liabilities and creditors, to file for personal bankruptcy,” he said.

“That’s the only way that I can actually secure income … and provide food for my family.”

“I don’t have any assets, nor do I have the ability to post any bail,” he added.  

Ultimately, the judge ignored his plea and set his bail at $5 million cash due, in part, to the charges and how long it took law enforcement to locate him after a warrant was issued for his arrest.


Nir Meir is arraigned for his role in the $86 million fraud involving HFZ Capital Group and others that we announced two weeks ago.
Nir Meir is arraigned for his role in the $86 million fraud involving HFZ Capital Group and others that we announced two weeks ago. Steven Hirsch

Assistant District Attorney Christopher Beard had earlier told the hearing it took cops about seven days to find him because he had been moving between “high-end resorts and hotels” amid his ongoing divorce.

Meir and his attorney, Arnold Keith Jr., both insisted during the proceedings that the former developer didn’t know there was a warrant out for him.

His initial court appearance came after Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office revealed Meir was being charged in the wide-ranging criminal probe, along with two other former HFZ employees and three Omnibuild construction firm executives.

The case largely centers on the development of a luxury Manhattan condo project called the XI, which HFZ hired Omnibuild to construct in 2015, according to an indictment.

Prosecutors allege Meir spearheaded the scheme to falsify construction costs, lie to investors and forge bank statements to make it appear like the firm had more money than it did.

The XI project ended up going into foreclosure in 2021 following the financial collapse of HFZ following a trove of investor lawsuits and other foreclosures.

Written by SaleemBaloch

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