Lyme Man Sentenced to 51 Months in Federal Prison for Defrauding Investors of $1.9 Million
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 15, 2012|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Christopher Plummer, 51, of Lyme, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Warren W. Eginton in Bridgeport to 51 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for operating investment fraud schemes that defrauded individuals out of approximately $1.9 million.
“This defendant lied to investors, took their money, and spent it as if it was his own,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our partners at the FBI are committed to prosecuting fraudsters who prey on the investing public and steal retirement funds and other hard-earned savings.”
According to court documents, statements made in court and evidence presented during the trial of Plummer’s co-conspirator, Maureen Clark, Plummer and Clark, holding themselves out as an “Authorized Members” of New England Resorts LLC, falsely represented to investors and potential investors that they owned and/or controlled hundreds of acres of land in Lakeshore, Mississippi, a portion of which purportedly was zoned for casinos and residential properties. They also falsely represented that the partners of the company had invested several hundred million dollars of their own funds in buying land and options on land in and around the town of Lakeshore. Plummer and Clark told investors that they would be building a resort community with two million square feet of casino gaming, hotels, condominiums, and a medical facility. They also represented that the partners of the company had invested several hundred million dollars of their own funds in buying land and options on land in and around the town of Lakeshore.
In soliciting funds for the development project, Plummer and Clark sent e-mails and attachments to victim investors that falsely represented that major Wall Street investment firms had confirmed that they would partner in the project. For instance, in June 2007, Plummer sent an e-mail to an individual stating, in part, that a “take out” situation with a major Wall Street firm would result in a buyout of the property for $1.5 billion. In fact, there was no such “take out” plan. Clark also sent numerous e-mails indicating that she was getting financing from overseas sources. These representations were false.
After receiving the funds, Plummer and Clark did not invest the money as represented and instead diverted a significant portion of investors’ funds for their own personal use and benefit, including writing checks to cash, paying the expenses of McGrath Hotels, and making mortgage payments on a property in Stonington. McGrath Hotels did business as the Lighthouse Inn, a hotel and restaurant in New London that was owned by Clark.
As a result of this scheme, victim investors suffered losses of approximately $1.7 million.
In a separate scheme, Plummer represented himself to be a “managing member” of Madison and Wall Investments LLC. Plummer met with a victim-investor and represented that he could invest the victim’s money with a firm that utilized a computer-based trading system and which would realize a 100 percent return within two years. The victim investor then provided Plummer with two $100,000 checks. Plummer deposited the funds into a bank account he controlled in the name of Madison and Wall Investments LLC and then wrote checks to himself, Clark, and a mortgage company.
In a letter dated August 28, 2008, Plummer falsely represented that the balance in the victim investor’s account was $247,700 when, in fact, the money had been spent. In total, the victim lost approximately $179,000 of his $200,000 investment.
The victim of this scheme addressed the court today and explained how he had trusted Plummer, who was a friend of his, how Plummer abused that trust and how he had lost his retirement funds, stating “there are months that I just can’t make ends meet.”
Plummer has been detained since his arrest on November 29, 2010. On January 26, 2012, he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Plummer has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,936,900.32. He also has forfeited his interest in a 4.35 acre parcel of property in Stonington, an automobile, and funds that have been seized during the investigation.
Plummer has two prior convictions for fraud-based offenses.
On July 12, 2012, a jury found Clark guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 13 counts of wire fraud, and six counts of money laundering. She awaits sentencing.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. McGarry and Senior Litigation Counsel Richard J. Schechter.
The Connecticut Securities, Commodities, and Investor Fraud Task Force investigates matters relating to insider trading, market manipulation, Ponzi schemes, investor fraud, financial statement fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and embezzlement. The task force includes representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; U.S. Secret Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Fraud Section, Antitrust Division; U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC); Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP); Office of the Chief State’s Attorney; State of Connecticut Department of Banking; Greenwich Police Department; and Stamford Police Department.
Citizens are encouraged to report any financial fraud schemes by calling, toll-free, 855-236-9740 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants, including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants.
To report financial fraud crimes, and to learn more about the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, please visit www.stopfraud.gov.