Dressage Rider Caroline Roffman, Husband Benjamin Meredith & Rick Rockefeller-Silvia Sued in Palm Beach County Court Over Alleged Fraud Horse Deal
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, April 11, 2018—A civil lawsuit alleging fraud in a horse deal has been filed in Palm Beach County Circuit Court by a woman against Wellington equestrians Caroline Roffman, a U.S. dressage rider, her husband, Benjamin Meredith, an Australian show jumper, and Richard Rockefeller-Silvia, an American dressage rider.
The suit by Ruth A. Green, a resident of Palm Beach who is described in court documents as older than 65 and with no knowledge of equestrian sport, alleges she was defrauded of $400,000 in the purchase of a show jumper for Benjamin Meredith. The suit alleges she was “on the hook” into investing in the jumper horse after the sale of a dressage horse in which Caroline Roffman, 29, Benjamin Meredeith, 34, and Rick Rockefeller-Silvia, 33, were all involved.
The suit describes the alleged actions by the three “civil conspiracy” to defraud.
This is the second County Court suit in recent months against Caroline Roffman and her Lionshare Dressage that was settled last month “with prejudice.” Terms of the settlement with Alice Tarjan who had sued over alleged fraud involving the sale of her dressage horse were confidential.
The latest case alleges that Ruth Green after getting to know Rick Silvia invested a total of $55,000 in a horse named Blackjack, later re-named Sandreamo. The horse was later sold and she received $85,000.
“Having lured and convinced plaintiff to invest in Blackjack/Sandreamo,” the suit alleged, “Silvia knew that he had plaintiff on the hook to make further and much bigger investments with him.
Rick Silvia made another proposal, to buy a horse in which Ms. Green and he would each invest $400,000 for a total of $800,000 in a horse for Ben Meredith to compete as a jumper on the 2018 Wellington circuit. Caroline Roffman and Ben Meredith would each invest another $100,000 and also be responsible for all expenses. The horse would be competed at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, she was allegedly told, then “sold for millions of dollars, netting a handsome profit.”
The suit detailed that a horse named Lebron was to be acquired and Ruth Green wired $400,000 as requested to an account in the name of Runway Stables in Helmond, Netherlands.
However, Rick Silvia told her, the suit alleged, because of currency differences the payment was not enough and the sale was being jeopardized and the seller was refusing to provide a bill of sale.
She later discovered the horse had been shipped to Florida and was in possession of Caroline Roffman and Benjamin Meredith.
“Silvia fabricated this fight with plaintiff so that he had an excuse to cut off ties with plaintiff and not account to her for his actions or plaintiff’s monies in connection with this transaction,” according to the suit.
Further, it alleged, “Neither Silvia, Roffman or Meredith ever contributed any money towards the purchase of Lebron, and further, never intended to do so. Instead they used some or all of plaintiff’s money to purchase Lebron for their own use and benefit.”
Ruth Green demanded her money back, and the suit alleges the three agreed to repay her but have failed to do so.
She is seeking a jury trial of the allegations.
In the suit against Caroline Roffman and Lionshare Dressage settled last month, Alice Tarjan of Frenchtown, New Jersey alleged she was defrauded over the sale of a horse. She alleged she was told the horse was sold for $300,000 but the amount was was $900,000.
Caroline is a horse sales agent, trainer and competitor and the 2010 FEI “Rising Star.” She is married to the Florida-based Australian jumper rider Benjamin Meredith. She gave birth to a baby girl two years ago.