In a recent development, two individuals, Dillon Arceneaux and Zeb Sartin, residing in Louisiana, have pleaded guilty to charges involving wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. According to court documents, Arceneaux and Sartin, along with several others, conspired to defraud a merchant cash company based in Georgia by creating assetless shell companies and fabricating bank records. As a result, the victim cash advance company suffered losses estimated at around $6.4 million. Arceneaux and Sartin each face potential prison sentences and fines upon sentencing in November 2023. The case is being handled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation, with prosecution by Assistant United States Attorneys.
Defendants and Charges
In a recent case of wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy, two defendants, Dillon Arceneaux and Zeb Sartin, pleaded guilty to the charges. The defendants conspired with Ryan Mullen, Duane Dufrene, Grant Menard, and Lance Vallo to defraud a merchant cash company based in Georgia. The charges against Arceneaux and Sartin include one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to court documents, Arceneaux and Sartin, along with their co-conspirators, used several assetless shell companies in Louisiana to carry out their fraudulent activities. Mullen and Dufrene helped establish Arceneaux, Vallo, Menard, and Sartin as the owners of existing corporations. As part of their scheme, Mullen and Dufrene created fake vendor accounts for these corporations and falsified bank records for the companies.
Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud
The defendants, Arceneaux and Sartin, conspired with their co-defendants to commit wire fraud. They used aliases and claimed to be brokers for the fraudulent companies they had created. One of the brokers, Mullen, supplied the victim merchant cash advance company with the fake vendor accounts and false bank records to obtain funding. The victim company approved the advances and electronically wired millions of dollars to Arceneaux, Vallo, Menard, and Sartin.
Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
In addition to the wire fraud conspiracy, Arceneaux and Sartin also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. After receiving the funds from the victim company, Arceneaux, Vallo, Menard, and Sartin laundered a portion of the funds by paying Mullen and Dufrene percentages of the money. The defendants then closed their non-existent businesses without fully repaying the victim merchant cash advance company. This resulted in overall victim losses of approximately $6.4 million.
Involvement of Other Defendants
Along with Arceneaux and Sartin, Ryan Mullen, Duane Dufrene, Grant Menard, and Lance Vallo were also involved in the wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy. Mullen and Dufrene played significant roles in establishing the fraudulent companies, creating fake vendor accounts, and fabricating bank records. The involvement of these additional defendants demonstrates the complexity and coordination of the fraudulent scheme.
Creation of Fraudulent Companies
As part of the conspiracy, the defendants established assetless shell companies in Louisiana. These companies, which had no legitimate business operations or assets, were used as vehicles to carry out the fraudulent activities. By creating these fake companies, the defendants were able to deceive the victim company and obtain funding through false pretenses.
Use of Fake Vendor Accounts
To further perpetrate the fraud, the defendants created fake vendor accounts for the fraudulent companies. These accounts were designed to give the appearance of legitimate business transactions and relationships between the fraudulent companies and other entities. The use of these fake vendor accounts helped to convince the victim company to approve the cash advances and wire funds to the defendants.
Fabrication of Bank Records
In order to support the fraudulent activities, the defendants falsified bank records for the fraudulent companies. These fabricated records were used to create the illusion of financial stability and legitimacy for the companies. By providing these falsified bank records to the victim company, the defendants were able to gain its trust and secure the cash advances.
Obtaining Funding from Victim Company
Through their scheme, the defendants were able to deceive the victim merchant cash advance company and obtain substantial funding. By presenting themselves as legitimate business owners and providing fake vendor accounts and falsified bank records, they convinced the company to approve the cash advances. The victim company electronically wired millions of dollars to the defendants, resulting in significant financial losses.
Investigative Agencies Involvement
The case was investigated by the special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and IRS-Criminal Investigation. These agencies played a crucial role in uncovering the fraudulent activities and gathering evidence against the defendants. The investigative work conducted by these agencies contributed to the successful prosecution of the wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.
In conclusion, the guilty pleas of Dillon Arceneaux and Zeb Sartin in the wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy case highlight the sophisticated nature of financial fraud schemes. The creation of fraudulent companies, use of fake vendor accounts, fabrication of bank records, and obtaining substantial funding from the victim company demonstrate the extensive planning and coordination involved in the conspiracy. The involvement of other defendants further underscores the complexity of the scheme. The investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation were instrumental in bringing these defendants to justice and holding them accountable for their actions. The sentencing of Arceneaux and Sartin, scheduled for November 1, 2023, will determine the consequences they will face for their involvement in the wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.