A federal grand jury recently indicted a St. George man on fraud and money laundering charges, among other things. Authorities say that the man committed various white collar crimes through a false shipping company.
The 46-year-old man allegedly told individuals that he was experienced in the shipping industry and routinely shipped commodities throughout the world. Specifically, the man allegedly told individuals and companies that he owned a large amount of cement and routinely oversaw large shipments of cement to prior customers, when he in fact did not.
The alleged victims of the fraud scheme entered into contracts with the man and wired money into his personal accounts. Authorities allege that the man defrauded his victims of about $725,000.
“The first three counts of the indictment allege wire fraud in the execution of the scheme by falsely obtaining the money and property of victims through the use of materially false representations and the omission of material facts,” the Department of Justice stated. The two money laundering charges allege that the man used the money to make a large down payment on a home and buy a boat.
The final charge alleges that the man failed to file a tax return in 2008. Individuals are required to file tax returns even if they only have illegal sources of income.
It is important to remember that indictments are not findings of guilt. Indictments by a grand jury simply mean that a prosecutor was able to make a viable argument to a group of citizens regarding the man’s alleged crimes.
This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Utah Office and being investigated by both the IRS and the U.s. Secret Service.