Investment Company Owner Enters Guilty Plea to Wire Fraud for Defrauding Customer of More Than $1 Million Dollars
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 15, 2013|
FAYETTEVILLE, AR—United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas Conner Eldridge announced today that Michael Columbia, age 27, an Arizona resident, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for using his company to defraud a customer of about $1 million dollars. U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren accepted the guilty plea at the U.S. District Court in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Columbia faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and up to $1,000,000 in fines.
United States Attorney Eldridge stated, “We remain committed to investigating and prosecuting fraud in all forms. Those that perpetuate schemes to defraud individuals for their own person gain should be held accountable.”
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 about $1 million dollars 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 knowledge and pocketed a portion of the proceeds.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Snyder prosecuted the case for the United States.