Fitchburg Man Convicted in Bank Fraud Scheme
MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Christian Peterson, 44, Fitchburg, Wisconsin, was convicted today of a fraud scheme after an eight-day jury trial in federal court in Madison. The jury deliberated for approximately 15 hours over a three-day period before finding Peterson guilty of eight of the 13 counts in the indictment.
Peterson was convicted of three counts of bank fraud, two counts of making false statements, two counts of money laundering, and one count of theft from an employee benefit plan. He was acquitted of five other counts.
U.S. District Judge Barbara B. Crabb scheduled sentencing for August 20, 2014. Peterson faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on each of the bank fraud counts, 30 years on each of the false statement counts, 20 years on each money laundering count, and five years for the theft from an employee benefit plan.
The evidence at trial showed that Peterson misrepresented to banks that loans and a business line of credit were intended for a legitimate business purpose when, in fact, he used all or a portion of each loan and line of credit to gamble at casinos or for personal expenses. Specifically, he was convicted of:
1. causing Marshal & Ilsley Bank to send a $300,000 wire transfer to a casino in Las Vegas, after misrepresenting to the bank in an e-mail that he would not use the funds for personal use, when in fact, the money was used to pay for gambling;
2. causing Marshal & Ilsley Bank to continue funding a business line of credit by providing financial statements to the bank which misrepresented his finances by disguising $460,000 used by him for gambling;
3. causing Greenwoods State Bank to fund a $1,100,100 loan for commercial land site improvements at a construction project in Dane County, by misrepresenting the purpose of the loan on the loan application knowing that he was going to use at least $300,000 of the loan to pay off an outstanding gambling debt at a casino in Las Vegas;
4. making a false statement for the purpose of influencing the action of Marshal & Ilsley Bank, in connection with a $300,000 wire transfer to a casino in Las Vegas, in that Peterson sent an e-mail to Marshal & Ilsley Bank stating that he would not use the money for personal use, when, in fact, the $300,000 wire transfer was for gambling;
5. making a false statement for the purpose of influencing the action of Greenwoods State Bank, in connection with the application for a $1,100,100 loan, in that Peterson claimed that the loan was for commercial land site improvements, when, in fact, he intended to use some of the loan proceeds for a business unrelated to the stated purpose of the loan and to pay an existing casino debt;
6. engaging in a monetary transaction from a financial institution in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000, that, is a wire transfer from Marshal & Ilsley Bank in Wisconsin to a casino in Las Vegas, with said money having been derived from specified unlawful activity, namely, bank fraud;
7. engaging in a monetary transaction to a financial institution in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000, that is, a $300,000 cashier’s check withdrawn from Johnson Bank, with said property having been derived from a specified unlawful activity, namely, making a false statement to a financial institution; and
8. beginning in February 2009 and continuing until March 4, 2009, Peterson, without their knowledge or permission, took money from the Maverick Inc. 401(k) Plan and Trust belonging to certain Maverick Inc. employees who had invested in the plan and used the money to make a $10,000 payment to another business venture and to pay an individual $7,500.
United States Attorney Vaudreuil praised the efforts of the investigative team, saying, “Complex financial cases like this one are difficult to investigate and prosecute. The success in this case is due to the efforts of a very dedicated team of agents and prosecutors.”
The charges against Peterson were the result of an investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul W. Connell and Peter M. Jarosz.