Former Army Captain Convicted of Wire Fraud and Mail Fraud
GAINESVILLE, FL—Michael Benjamin Crowder, 36, now of Bradenton, Florida, was convicted yesterday in federal court in Gainesville of multiple counts of wire fraud and mail fraud, announced United States Attorney Pamela C. Marsh, Northern District of Florida. Sentencing has been set for November 17, 2014.
Crowder, while attending law school at the University of Florida under the Army’s Funded Legal Education Program, owned and operated M & H Coins and Precious Metals, LLC, from his Gainesville home. Crowder continued to operate the business while stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
At trial, the government presented evidence that the defendant accepted payments in excess of $700,000 that were to be used to purchase coins and precious metals for his customers. Instead, Crowder used the money to purchase a sports car, real estate, and to make investments in the commodities market. None of the money Crowder received from the victims has been recovered.
On each count, Crowder is facing a maximum term of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years of supervised release upon the completion of his sentence, and a $100 Special Monetary Assessment. The trial was held before United States District Court Judge Mark E. Walker and began on August 25, 2014.
Crowder was subject to an Army Board of Inquiry upon the return of the indictment and, in lieu of disciplinary action, resigned his commission. The resignation was accepted on November 1, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Marsh praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose investigation led to the convictions in this case.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Greg McMahon.