1. News

'Millionaire' contestant admits financial fraud

Published Apr. 10, 2012

TAMPA — Michael A. Prozer III appeared on Bravo television's The Millionaire Matchmaker in 2009 claiming he was worth $400 million and operated a company with business in 36 nations.

Unknown to viewers, the Tampa resident was something other than a millionaire date.

He was a fraud.

An indigent Prozer pleaded guilty Monday in federal court to bank fraud charges and acknowledged he obtained a $3 million loan in the months before his television appearance by pretending he had tens of millions of dollars stashed in two banks.

The surprise plea came in the afternoon after lawyers in the case spent the morning picking a jury in a trial that had been expected to last a week.

It was an open plea by Prozer, which means he has no agreement with prosecutors on a sentence. A judge scheduled his sentencing for Aug. 9. Statutory maximums on the seven charges to which he pleaded guilty are 30 years, though it is unlikely Prozer would be sentenced to anything close to that.

Prozer's court-appointed attorney, Stephen Leal, said pleading guilty "is something (Prozer's) been wrestling with for quite a while."

In the end, his client decided the risk of losing at trial was too great, Leal said.

Prozer, 36, will be in custody until sentencing. A judge last year revoked his bail after prosecutors accused him of trying to buy two luxury cars while awaiting trial.

Prosecutors said Prozer in 2008 began pursuing the loan with the now-shuttered Park Avenue Bank, based in Georgia, telling the bank he needed operating funds for his business, XchangeAgent. He described the company as processing electronic payments on the Internet.

Prozer, prosecutors said, enlisted the help of two co-conspirators. One worked at Wachovia and produced a fraudulent letter confirming to Park Avenue that Prozer had $21 million on deposit, which Prozer used as collateral on the $3 million loan.

Other bogus documents were produced for the loan, including bank statements and tax returns for 2006 and 2007. In fact, Prozer had not filed returns in those years.

In November 2008, Prozer met with a Park Avenue Bank official in the Caribbean. A co-conspirator impersonated a First Caribbean International Bank representative who verified that Prozer had $145 million on deposit there.

Also on Monday, Fedor Stanley Salinas, the former Wachovia employee whom prosecutors said helped Prozer in his scheme after he was paid $25,000, pleaded guilty to bank fraud charges and will be sentenced with Prozer in August.

A second co-conspirator has co-operated with authorities.

Prozer's appearance in April 2009 on Millionaire Matchmaker didn't go too well. His date thought he was a jerk.

William R. Levesque can be reached at or (813) 226-3432.


  1. President Donald Trump speaks during an event with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison at Pratt Industries, Sunday, Sept 22, 2019, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. EVAN VUCCI  |  AP
    Trump will try to convince skeptical global capitals to help build a coalition to confront Tehran after the United States blamed it for last week’s strike at an oil field in Saudi Arabia.
  2. Florida's VAM formula confuses many teachers, who call it an unfair and invalid measure of their performance. Florida Department of Education
    A roundup of stories from around the state.
  3. The Spooky Train returns to the Concourse on Alric Pottberg Road in Shady Hills, as part of the Spook-A-Thon event offered Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 26, plus Oct. 27. MONICA MILLS  |  Monica Mills
  4. Traffic improvements near the Walmart store in Hudson include replacing this one-lane exit on the store's south side with a roundabout so motorists can travel in either direction on Beacon Woods Drive. JOSH SOLOMON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    A roundabout, rebuilt street, new driveways and a traffic light are planned for the area around a busy Walmart store.
  5. Brooksville City Hall
    Spending plan includes a new fire fee calculation, new positions and a plan to improve city infrastructure.
  6. The exterior of the new Nova Southeast University Tampa Bay Regional Campus, Clearwater can be seen on Friday. September 20, 2019.  SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Nova Southeastern University’s new campus off the Courtney Campbell Causeway was funded by Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel.
  7. Michelle Brandon, center, was one of four teachers at Pasco County's Hudson Elementary to be removed after two weeks of classes because of her state "VAM score." Here she is seen, before her transfer, on the first day of school this year, reviewing classroom rules with students. Later, when they broke the news to students, “there were a lot of tears,” Brandon recalled. "It was very difficult.” JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |  Times
    It’s a number that is mostly based on test scores. The state says it helps put the best teachers in struggling schools, but many say it’s not valid.
  8. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla.
    Scott renews his talking point in the wake of an investigative story.
  9. 3 hours ago• Pasco
    Pasco Kids First president and CEO Robert Wolf. Becky Bennett/Pasco Kids First
    News and notes from Pasco County
  10. Stay with for the latest news and updates. Times
    Seth Monroe Majors, 31, died at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.