Recently a Houston investment manager, Robert Andres, plead guilty to wire fraud in federal court in Salt Lake City. The facts surrounding Mr. Andres’s case are all too familiar in Utah. Allegedly Mr. Andres raised investor funds through his company Winsome Investment Trust to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. He allegedly misrepresented to investors how the investment funds were allocated and invested and for distributing false balance sheets to his investors and potential investors.
To top it off, Mr. Andres was purported to have used funds taken later to pay profit payments to earlier investors. This type of arrangement can be considered a pyramid scheme, but Mr. Andres was not convicted of running a pyramid scheme, he plead guilty to wire fraud for which he could do up to 20 years in a federal prison and get fined $250,000.
What is Federal Wire Fraud?
Wire fraud is a “scheme or artifice” to defraud someone or using fraudulent or deceptive means to obtain money, through the use of electronic communications or an interstate communication facility. So, in the case of Mr. Andres, he may have used email, faxes, and phones to communicate the alleged misrepresented balance sheets or to solicit investments through other misrepresentations. The moment electronic communications come into play to obtain money through fraud the feds can get involved, and the potential punishments in federal court are typically much more severe than similar convictions in state court.
Financial Crimes Defense
Our criminal defense team has vast experience in federal and state courts. Financial crimes are not something that you can go at alone or that you can risk handing over to inexperienced counsel. Too much is at stake and the penalties are too sever so make sure you call us. If you are facing a financial crime give us a call for a free consultation at 801.618.1334.