The Federal court in Indianapolis charged a member of the city council along with two of his associates with several counts of money laundering and wire fraud. All three were connected to a foundation that had been investigated for over two years.
Paul C. Bateman Jr., Manuel Gonzalez and Michael L. Russell, office holders at the foundation, have been charged with defrauding an elderly physician in Indiana for the sum of approximately $1.7 million.
The Modus Operandi
The Russell Foundation was conceived in 2003. Its official purpose was to organize religious, charitable and educational work. It was exempted from taxes as it was listed as a nonprofit organization. According to the indictment, the three accused, using the foundation as a front, convinced the physician to invest $702,000 in 2007. After a few months, the same three men convinced the physician to further invest in the foundation’s projects for the amount of $1 million in cash bonds. The physician was assured that he would receive $1.6 million in returns within a period of 7 months.
Russell told the physician that there would be several other investors who would generate the returns. In the weeks after receiving the payments, the three men spent the money on personal items such as houses, clothes and jewelry.
What Does Wire Fraud Entail?
Based on section 1343, Title 18 of the United States Code, a person who is guilty of wire fraud will have devised a scheme to defraud or obtain fund or property through fraudulent means. These funds will have been transmitted via wire, television or radio.
The penalty for wire fraud is a maximum imprisonment period of 20 years or a fine which will be determined based on the circumstances of the crime. However, in some cases, the accused will be sentenced to both a fine and prison time.