A 75-year-old Alabama man is facing federal charges of mail and securities fraud, after investigators say he reportedly stole more than $300,000 in a phony investment scheme.
Birmingham criminal defense lawyers know that not all white collar crimes are charged federally, but they often are, as authorities seek the harsher penalties available when crimes are prosecuted at the federal level. What this means is that you need an attorney who is experienced at handling such cases.
In this situation, it appears defense attorneys worked swiftly to negotiate a plea deal. In fact, a plea agreement was entered the exact same day charges were filed, according to the Birmingham News. That deal, in part, requires the defendant to pay some $295,000 in restitution to victims.
The defendant in this case reportedly operated a financial investment firm between 2007 and 2010. Numerous individuals provided him with money with the understanding that he would invest it with another individual who was reportedly familiar with the foreign exchange currency market.
He told investors that they could expect to receive large returns on their investments within two to three months. In a number of cases, profit reports, funding agreements and other documents related to the fraud were mailed to investors. This was reportedly to show them that the transactions were legitimate and that they were indeed making a profit.
But investigators claim that was all patently false. The fact that the defendant used the U.S. Postal Service to perpetuate this alleged fraud resulted in the mail fraud charge.
When the investors then tried to collect their profits, the defendant reportedly mailed them communication indicating their investments had either been stolen or seized by third parties.
Law enforcement investigators later combed through the defendant’s financial accounts. What they discovered was that the money had never been forwarded or invested. Instead, he reportedly used that money to pay other investors or to buy personal items or cover personal expenses.
He is now scheduled for arraignment, though given the fast announcement of a plea agreement, this case seems highly unlikely to go to trial.
Sometimes, in cases like this where there appears to be a substantial amount of evidence against a person, that can be the best possible option. While we don’t know whether any jail time is on the table, 18 U.S.C. 1341 allows for up to 20 years in prison for conviction of a single charge of mail fraud, while 18 U.S.c. 1348 allows for up to 5 years of incarceration on a single charge of securities fraud. Fines can range anywhere from $250,000 to $1 million. Even with a restitution agreement that would nearly cover his alleged theft, he could additionally face severe fines and other penalties.
This same defendant is also accused of a separate but similar scheme out of Florida, where he was indicted September of last year. There, he is facing charges of sale of unregistered securities, scheming to defraud investors, fraud in connection with the sale of securities and sale of securities by an unregistered agent.