Ventura did sell the initial units, and later hundreds more. He is now a fugitive. In May 2009, Ventura was arrested in Panama for real estate fraud, unrelated to the Trump project. Mauricio Ceballos, a former financial crimes prosecutor in Panama who investigated Ventura, said that dozens of complaints against Ventura crossed his desk accusing him of double- and triple-selling apartments, both at the Trump Ocean Club and other developments.
Ventura eventually fled Panama while out on bail. He denied having defrauded his clients but admitted to NBC News that he has participated in money laundering on behalf of corrupt Panamanian politicians, unrelated to the building project.
Ventura isn’t the only person associated with the building who has had run-ins with the law. An NBC News investigation into the Trump Ocean Club, in conjunction with Reuters, shows that the project was riddled with brokers, customers and investors who have been linked to drug trafficking and international crime. Ceballos, who investigated the project, went as far as to call the skyscraper “a vehicle for money laundering.”