Authorities punish crimes involving fraud very seriously. A defendant accused of defrauding $2 million from two-dozen investors across the country, including an Indiana farmer, recently learned this truth the hard way. The man has been sentenced to 15 years for his schemes, plus another three years under supervision.
According to the allegations, the man told his victims that they would be investing in farmland. However, he never made any land purchases. Authorities claim the man spent investors' funds on items like expensive cars.
The extra cash flow drew the attention of the IRS' criminal investigation division. Those IRS officials, working in conjunction with the FBI, culminated in the seizure of the man's computers and records.
In light of the evidence against him, including bank records and testimony from 11 witnesses, the man agreed to a plea deal. Despite that negotiation, he still received a harsh sentence.
White-collar crimes, or those involving financial deception or fraud, may involve state or federal law. The distinction depends upon the specific type of alleged fraudulent activity. Under either framework, however, fraud cases generally implicate harsh sentences.
There are also commonalities to most fraud crimes. One general characteristic is an allegation that the defendant intentionally misrepresented facts, either through his or her words or actions, for personal gain at the expense of others.
Another common feature is how fraud allegations against a defendant are investigated. Authorities from one or more agencies often collaborate for months, following the paper trail and gathering enough evidence to support the probable cause requirement for a search warrant. A defendant may realize that he or she is the subject of a fraud investigation only after authorities have built a sizable case.
Source: Journal-Sentinel, "Brazen 'bring it on' felon gets 15 years for $2 million fraud," Cary Spivak, March 8, 2017