Former Gunnison County Man Charged in Scheme to Defraud Investors in NASCAR Business
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 05, 2012|
DENVER—Michael Patrick Corrigan, age 57, formerly of Gunnison County, Colorado, was arrested early this morning without incident in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for mail and wire fraud offenses related to his fraudulent actions involving the sale of investment opportunities in a NASCAR memorabilia company, U.S. Attorney John Walsh and FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced today. Corrigan appeared in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Alabama, where he was advised of the charged pending against him and the penalties related to those charges. A detention hearing is scheduled to take place later this week in Birmingham. He will eventually come to Colorado so that he can face the charges here, where he was indicted.
According to the indictment, Racezing Mania Corporation (RZM) was incorporated in Colorado in April 2006. Michael Patrick Corrigan was the registered agent. The purpose of RZM was to be a distributor of NASCAR memorabilia, specifically, die-cast cars and apparel. The business was registered to an address in Crested Butte. There was also a P.O. box in Clarksville, Indiana. NascarMania LLC was the parent company of RZM. NascarMania was incorporated under the laws of the Nevada in 2005. This company was also controlled by Corrigan. In addition, Markettron Holdings LLC was also controlled by Corrigan. From the companies’ inceptions, until the latter part of 2007, Corrigan was president of NascarMania and treasurer of RZM. Corrigan maintained his position as treasurer of RZM, and he and his wife had sole control of RZM finances of RZM.
The stated purpose of RZM was to specialize in racecar team sponsorships, custom-die cast car sales, and Internet marketing sales. RZM also offered “investment opportunity and value to both current and potential investors.” Between 2005 and 2008, Corrigan, using material misrepresentations and omissions, fraudulently solicited investors into his NASCAR memorabilia business. To create an appearance of credibility, the defendant created a RZM board of directors, which included several investors of RZM.
Corrigan solicited and interacted with investors through e-mail, telephone calls, mailings, and Internet websites. He also initiated a “club concept” in which investors contributed $500 for a membership position. Corrigan promised every investor a percentage of the sales of the NASCAR-related merchandise. He also sold membership to “affiliate sites,” or websites available for purchase by investors, for $1,250. The purpose of these sites was to sell NASCAR memorabilia through “spam” e-mails sent by RZM, which directed potential customers to the affiliate’s website. Corrigan guaranteed investors would receive a minimum of $100 weekly net profit, as well as 10,000 leads per week a $250 commissions for every affiliate site sale. An “E-Commerce” club offered membership positions for $5,000. Investors involved in this club were promised a percentage of the company’s returns from the Internet sales of NASCAR-related merchandise.
During the course of the scheme, Corrigan claimed to have the ability to generate income and profits through his three business units. He claimed to be expecting first-year sales totaling $38,500,000, netting $15,409.688 in profit. By 2011, Corrigan projected sales totaling $308,336,426, netting $135,852,298 in profit. Corrigan also informed investors and potential investors that RZM stock would be publicly traded, and, as a result, depending on the amount of the initial investment with RZM, several investors would become millionaires. The defendant was never authorized to use investor funds for his or his family’s personal use. Between 2005 and 2008, he obtained approximately $950,000.
“Combating investment fraud is one of this office’s top priorities: scamming investors out of their hard-earned dollars has criminal consequences, including potential prison time,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.
“The FBI does not take white-collar crime lightly and will aggressively pursue those that take advantage of hard working Americans,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “The FBI will continue to protect the financial wealth of individuals enabling our economy to continue to grow safely and securely.”
Corrigan faces four counts of mail fraud and four counts of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces not more than 20 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine, per count. He could also be ordered to pay restitution.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Corrigan is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is innocent unless and until proven guilty.