St. Charles County Man Indicted in Connection with Investment Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 16, 2013|
ST. LOUIS—Michael Kitchen, 47, of St. Peters, Missouri, was indicted on federal fraud charges for conducting an investment fraud scheme during 2008 and 2009. He is expected to appear in federal court later this week.
According to the Indictment, Kitchen marketed a “verification of funds” financial opportunity to a number of investors and took in approximately $500,000. Kitchen told investors their money was safe and, if placed in a verification of funds transaction, would earn more than a 1,000 percent annualized return. However, Kitchen is alleged to have failed to protect or place investors’ funds. To the contrary, the indictment alleges Kitchen simply spent investors’ money on business and personal expenses over several years.
Kitchen was indicted by a federal grand jury late Wednesday on three felony counts of wire fraud for devising this fraud scheme and two counts of money laundering for using its proceeds to purchase two automobiles.
If convicted, each count of wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up $250,000. The money laundering counts carry maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. Restitution must be ordered for any victims.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the FBI in cooperation for the Office of Securities Enforcement-Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, which is currently prosecuting a civil enforcement action against Kitchen. Assistant United States Attorney Tom Albus is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.