Friday, October 17, 2008

Georgia Man Sentenced for 36 Months in Prison for Inernet Investment Fraud

A Georgia man was sentenced October 15, 2008, in U.S. District Court for using an Internet website in the name of the Transnational Fund to fraudulently induce persons to invest in so-called “certificates” promising a guaranteed rate of return in nine months.

United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division and Police Commissioner Edward Davis of the Boston Police Department, announced today that MICHAEL PATRICK LUCKETT, age 37, of 6015 Henson Rd., Gainseville, GA, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William G. Young to 36 months imprisonment, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release. LUCKETT was also ordered to pay $97,387 in restitution. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to distribute approximately $222,900, held in frozen bank accounts, to victims in the near future. LUCKETT pled guilty to four counts of mail fraud on July 14, 2008.

At an earlier plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government’s evidence would have proven that LUCKETT used a website in the name of Transnational Fund to induce individuals to invest in “certificates” with a guaranteed return of principal and approximately 6.35% interest after nine months, but that instead of investing the funds he received, LUCKETT used them for his own personal and business purposes. By this scheme, LUCKETT induced approximately fifteen persons from around the United States to send him a total of more than $450,000. LUCKETT operated the Transnational Fund scheme from an apartment in Boston, while the website directed prospective investors to mail their checks to an address in Hartford, which LUCKETT arranged to be forwarded to him. LUCKETT opened multiple bank accounts in the name of the Transnational Fund into which he deposited investors’ funds, and that he used nearly $100,000 of the funds received for expenses such as his personal rent and meals, making cash withdrawals and promoting the Transnational Fund website.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Boston Police Department, with assistance from the Boston Office of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark J. Balthazard of Sullivan’s Economic Crimes Unit.

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