Investment Company Owner Sentenced to More Than Four Years in Prison for Defrauding Investor of Approximately $1 Million
FAYETTEVILLE, AR—United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Conner Eldridge announced today that Michael Columbia, 27, of Scottsdale, Arizona, was sentenced today to 51 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $2,500 fine for using his company to defraud an investor of approximately $1 million. Columbia was ordered to pay $12,207,067.51 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks presided over the sentencing in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
U.S. Attorney Eldridge stated, “This defendant came to our state and swindled an investor in our area out of his hard-earned money. Columbia then diverted those funds to feed his own lavish lifestyle. That is shameful and simply will not be tolerated in the Western District of Arkansas. Our office remains committed to investigating and prosecuting schemes designed to steal money from others in order to protect our community and our citizens from fraud.”
“Fraud schemes like the one perpetrated by Michael Columbia erode the public’s confidence in the free enterprise system,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge David T. Resch. “The FBI takes these matters very seriously, and today’s sentencing of Michael Columbia sends a message that fraud will be aggressively investigated.”
On August 22, 2012, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Columbia with executing a scheme to obtain money through fraudulent misrepresentation. According to court documents, Columbia accepted a customer’s bond valued at approximately $1 million as collateral in order for the customer to obtain a loan through the services of Columbia’s company, StoneRock Capital Group, LLC. Columbia then sold the bond without the customer’s authorization and pocketed a portion of the proceeds. Columbia pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on February 15, 2013.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kenneth Elser and Steven Snyder prosecuted the case for the United States.