August 13, 2014

West Michigan Businessman Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison for Defrauding His Friends and Business Associates

GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Roger Lee Andrews, 54, of Coopersville, was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison for committing a fraud scheme involving real estate he claimed to own in Indiana. Additionally, Andrews was ordered to pay $1,493,870.77 in restitution to the victims of the scheme and was ordered to forfeit an additional $1,408,061.33 to the United States in the form of a money judgment. The Honorable Robert J. Jonker, U.S. District Judge, imposed the sentence.

U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles, Jr. said, “The fraud perpetrated by Roger Andrews represents a deplorable abuse of trust. Sadly, Andrews exploited his decades-long relationships with his victims to swindle them out of substantial amounts of money for his own benefit and enjoyment. This sentence holds Andrews accountable for his reprehensible conduct.”

Andrews was convicted of wire fraud following a jury trial in April 2014. At trial, the jury heard evidence that Andrews solicited money from friends, business acquaintances, and a bank for use in connection with investment property in Indiana. Andrews told his victims he had non-public “inside information” concerning the value of certain real estate in Indiana and needed funds to make capital improvements to the land to sell it at a substantial profit to the State of Indiana. In reality, Andrews never owned any property in Indiana, was never involved in any land deals in Indiana, and admitted forging documents that made it appear as though he had a contract to sell the property for more than $900,000.

“Mr. Andrews engaged in a longstanding financial fraud scheme, stealing money from friends and business acquaintances,” stated Paul Abbate, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Detroit Field Office. “When confronted at trial by his victims and evidence of his crimes, Mr. Andrews showed no remorse. The prison sentence and restitution ordered in this case holds Mr. Andrews accountable for his actions and brings justice to his victims. The FBI remains dedicated to aggressively pursuing perpetrators who commit these crimes.”

In sentencing Andrews to prison, the Court remarked that Andrews engaged in a “brazen” fraud scheme to take money from his friends over several years to gamble it away in the stock market. The Court rejected Andrews’ request for leniency and found that Andrews committed perjury while testifying at trial under oath. The Court noted that Andrews has shown “no remorse whatsoever” for perpetrating the fraud and found it “mind boggling” that Andrews has failed to apologize or explain to the victims how he actually spent their money.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher O’Connor and Clay Stiffler.