Former South Bend Businessman Michael Kelly Faces Fraud Charges

By: Marcie Kobriger
By: Marcie Kobriger

Former South Bend businessman, Michael Kelly, was arrested in Jacksonville Florida last Friday.

He is accused of scheming hundreds of investors in what were supposed to be time shares at his Mexican hotels out of more than 400 million dollars.

According to the FBI, Kelly was operating a Ponzi-scheme.

In addition to his hotel holdings in Mexico, Kelly also owns Avanti, a car manufacturer which he moved out of South Bend to Youngstown Ohio, and eventually to Villa Rica, Georgia.

The name Avanti, which is familiar to many people in South Bend, is listed in the affidavit.

“Everythings sold and effective as of today. We've even sold our marketing and sales staff down.” That is what Michael Kelly had to say about sales at his Avanti car plant, in Youngtson, ohio back in 1988.

Things have changed since then.

Witnesses told the FBI that sales are low, and costs are high.

In order to make payroll Avanti depended on 2.5 million dollars which the FBI has traced back to the timeshare scam.
2000-2004 Kelly's main offices from were located in South Bend, before moving to Cancun.

The FBI says they will be looking into what happened here in South Bend, as well as in Cancun.


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