Two Southeastern Connecticut Residents Charged with Running $1.7 Million Investor Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 29, 2010|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a 32-count indictment charging CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER, 49, of Lyme, and MAUREEN CLARK, 56, of Stonington, with conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering offenses stemming from an alleged investment fraud scheme that defrauded at least 12 individuals out of more than $1.7 million.
The indictment was returned on November 23 and was unsealed today. Following her arrest this morning, CLARK appeared before United States Magistrate Judge William I. Garfinkel in Bridgeport and was ordered detained pending a bond hearing that is not yet scheduled. PLUMMER was arrested this afternoon. He will be arraigned before Judge Garfinkel tomorrow, November 30, at 3:00 p.m.
The indictment alleges that, from approximately March 2006 to November 2010, PLUMMER and CLARK falsely represented to investors and potential investors that they, or a company they controlled, owned hundreds of acres of land in Lakeshore, Mississippi, a portion of which purportedly was zoned for casinos. They also falsely represented that the partners of the company had invested several hundred million dollars of their own funds in buying land and options on land in and around the town of Lakeshore.
The indictment further alleges that PLUMMER and CLARK falsely represented to investors that the funds they invested would be used for the “Lakeshore Development Project,” and that the defendants sent e-mails and attachments to victim investors that falsely represented that major Wall Street investment firms had confirmed that they would partner in the Project. However, after receiving the funds, PLUMMER and CLARK did not invest the money as represented and instead diverted a significant portion of investors’ funds for their own personal use and benefit, including writing checks to cash, paying the expenses of McGrath Hotels (doing business as the Lighthouse Inn), and making mortgage payments on a property in Stonington.
The indictment further alleges that PLUMMER made other false representations to defraud individual investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As a result of these alleged schemes, victim investors suffered losses totaling more than $1.7 million.
The indictment charges PLUMMER and CLARK with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 20 counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. Each of these charges carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. The indictment also charges PLUMMER and CLARK with 10 counts of money laundering, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count.
The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of a 4.35 acre parcel of property in Stonington and a money judgment equal to the total amount of any real or personal property that constitutes proceeds involved in the offense.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are entitled to a fair trial at which it is the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. McGarry.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that this prosecution falls under the umbrella of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, which includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The Task Force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes. For more information on the task force, visit: www.StopFraud.gov.