Investment Company Owner Charged with Defrauding Customer of Over $1 Million Denied Release on Bail
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 02, 2012|
FAYETTEVILLE, AR—Michael Columbia, age 27, an Arizona resident, was denied release on bail yesterday for a charge of wire fraud after a Detention Hearing was held before U.S. Magistrate Judge Erin L. Setser.
On August 22, 2012, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Columbia with executing a scheme to obtain money through fraudulent misrepresentation. The indictment charged that Columbia used his investment company to defraud a customer of about $1 million dollars according to the indictment. He allegedly accepted a bond from a customer as collateral to obtain a loan and then sold the bond without the customer’s knowledge and pocketed a portion of the proceeds. The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking forfeiture of any property, real or personal, that was used to facilitate the offense, or any proceeds gained by the offense charged. If convicted of the charge, Columbia faces up to 30 years’ imprisonment, and up to $1,000,000 in fines.
Columbia pleaded not guilty on October 16, 2012. A jury trial is scheduled for December 3, 2012, before United States District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Snyder is prosecuting the case for the United States.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.