Nashville Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 15, 2009|
NASHVILLE, TN—Edward M. Yarbrough, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced that Christopher Michael Nezer, 50, of Nashville, pleaded guilty on September 11, 2009, to two counts of wire fraud in federal court. Appearing before Chief U.S. District Judge Todd Campbell, Nezer admitted that between February 1999 and December 2002, he controlled and operated a business in the Nashville area called “Stencilco,” which purportedly made and sold stenciling products and services. Nezer acknowledged that during that time frame, he fraudulently obtained more than $200,000 from investors who were located at various points throughout the United States, inducing payment by making false representations regarding the level of his formal education; his prior and existing contractual and business relationships and affiliations with well known corporations such as Kodak and Disney; the net worth, age, size, control and managerial structure of Stencilco; the income that he, Stencilco and other salesmen working for Stencilco were generating; the existence of a company guarantee regarding particular income levels for salesmen/investors; and the ready availability of the stenciling product which Stencilco purportedly manufactured, for purposes of sale by investors. Stencilco closed its doors in late 2002.
“Federal law enforcement authorities are well aware that completely legitimate business ventures can always fail, and fully informed investors assume a certain amount of risk that they will lose their money” said U.S. Attorney Edward Yarbrough. “However, when, as in this case, someone acquires investment money by lying or misrepresenting significant facts about a business venture, they are committing fraud. It is criminal to obtain investment money dishonestly, even if the person obtaining the money believes the business will succeed and they will eventually turn a profit for the investor.”
Nezer, who is in custody, faces up to 40 years of imprisonment on the charges. Sentencing is scheduled for November 20, 2009. The case was investigated by the Nashville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Hilliard Hester represented the United States.