The Internet has become a lucrative location for new businesses; it has also become the birthplace of numerous fraud schemes. A Houston man was recently arrested in connection with an Internet fraud scheme that allegedly scammed more than $1.2 million from 100 individuals.
The alleged scheme
According to federal officials, the suspect was arrested on Friday, May 6, and was indicted on several federal fraud charges. The investigation was conducted by the Pearland Police department and the FBI.
The investigation produced an indictment that alleges that the suspect and his co-conspirators deceived 134 victims by informing each of them that they were entitled to recover funds from prior investments or webpage domains. To collect these funds, the victims were told that they were required to remit via certified checks or money orders funds that were needed to pay various fees or taxes.
The defendant is alleged to have used several aliases in victimizing people who lived in many different locations. According to the indictment, none of the victims received any money in exchange for their payments. Many were persuaded to make additional payments after their initial payment did not yield the promised recovery.
The indictment alleges that the defendant and his co-defendants spent the money, over $1.2 million, on trips, dinners, a car, and other goods.
The suspect has been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 14 counts of mail fraud. A conviction would be punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 on each count, a total potential fine of $3.5 million.
Solid advice from a criminal defense attorney
The defendant, in this case, is facing very serious criminal charges. If convicted, he faces a lengthy prison sentence and a very heavy fine. Anyone facing similar charges will benefit from consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the evidence, potential defense strategies, and, if appropriate, assistance negotiating an acceptable plea agreement.