Former Army Captain Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Fraud
GAINESVILLE, FL—Michael Benjamin Crowder, 37, of Bradenton, Florida, was sentenced in federal court yesterday to 60 months in prison for wire and mail fraud. The sentence was announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
While attending law school at the University of Florida under the Army’s Funded Legal Education Program, Crowder operated M & H Coins and Precious Metals, LLC, from his Gainesville home. Crowder continued to operate the business while serving as a Judge Advocate General in the United States Army when stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. Evidence introduced at his August 2014 trial established that Crowder took more than $1.2 million from his customers claiming the funds would be used to purchase coins and precious metals. Crowder embezzled the money instead, using it to purchase real estate and invest in the commodities market. No money has been recovered.
Crowder was subject to an Army Board of Inquiry upon the return of the indictment and, in lieu of disciplinary action, resigned his commission, effective November 1, 2013.
In addition to the prison term, United States District Court Judge Mark E. Walker sentenced Crowder to a three-year term of supervised release and ordered him to pay $1,214,282 in restitution. At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, Crowder was taken into custody to begin serving his sentence.
United States Attorney Marsh praised the work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation whose investigation led to the convictions and sentence in this case. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Greg McMahon.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.