Home San Francisco Press Releases 2010 Sonoma County Man Arrested on Federal Fraud Charges

Sonoma County Man Arrested on Federal Fraud Charges
Glen Ellen Resident Charged with Obtaining $800,000 by Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 15, 2010
  • Northern District of California (415) 436-7200

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Charles Robert Vaughn, a/k/a Robert Vaughan, a/k/a Robert Vaughn, of Glen Ellen, Calif. (Sonoma County), on Dec. 9, 2010, with making false statements to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in order to obtain $700,000 in farm loans, and with defrauding North Coast Bank in Santa Rosa, Calif., in obtaining a $100,000 line of credit from the bank, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. Vaughn is currently detained pending a bail hearing that is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. tomorrow before Chief Magistrate Judge James Larson.

According to the indictment, in 2006, Vaughn, 67, allegedly applied to the USDA for a $500,000 emergency loan and a $200,000 operating loan in order to continue growing organic vegetables on property on Wright Road in Santa Rosa. Using the name Robert Vaughan, and representing that he was acting on behalf of his business, @VANTAGE.COM dba Planet Organic, Vaughn allegedly made false statements to the USDA about the income the business was earning, its involvement in litigation, his authority to act on behalf of the business, his own educational background and other matters relevant to making the decision of whether to loan the money to Vaughn’s business. In connection with applying for the $500,000 loan, Vaughn is also charged with aggravated identity theft in that he knowingly used, without lawful authority, the name and date of birth of another individual whom he knew at the time to be deceased.

In addition to being charged with obtaining the farm loans through fraud, Vaughn is charged with defrauding North Coast Bank in Santa Rosa by applying for and obtaining a $100,000 line of credit from the bank in 2007. Again using the name Robert Vaughan, and acting again on behalf of his business, Vaughn is charged with making material false statements and omissions to the bank, including falsely representing that his business had just less than $3 million in annual sales, providing fraudulent business tax returns to the bank and failing to disclose that the business had filed for bankruptcy in the same time frame that Vaughn was seeking the line of credit.

Vaughn was arrested in Glen Ellen on Dec. 13, 2010. He made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco that same date.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of making a false statement to the USDA, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1014, and for the scheme to defraud North Coast Bank, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Section 1344, is 30 years imprisonment, a $1 million fine, and total restitution of $800,000. The maximum penalty for aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A, is two years in prison consecutive to any other term of imprisonment that is imposed, plus a $250,000 fine. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Susan Badger is the Assistant United States Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rayneisha Booth. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and of the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Vaughn must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Further Information:

Case #: CR 10 0902 RS

A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.

Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.

Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.

All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by email at Jack.Gillund@usdoj.gov.

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