Idaho Executive Involved In Advance Fee Scheme Pleads Guilty
BOSTON – An Idaho business executive pleaded guilty to wire fraud conspiracy in connection with a scheme to steal deposits from individuals seeking financing.
Lucas Ford, 37 of Post Falls, Idaho, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Patti B. Saris. Ford is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov.10, 2014.
Ford was chief operating officer of an entity known as Quest Capital Finance which falsely represented to be a financing company that could provide hundreds of millions of dollars in loans. From 2008 through 2012, Ford and his co-conspirator, another Quest executive, told prospective borrowers that they needed to make up-front payments of several hundred thousand dollars into a refundable escrow account as deposits towards future loans. The escrow agreements falsely represented that the funds would not be moved out of escrow unless and until all contingencies for the loans had been met and the loans were being funded. In fact, shortly after the prospective borrowers deposited the money, the conspirators routinely took all or most of the escrowed money and transferred it to Quest. They then transferred the funds to other business and personal accounts, without ever arranging the promised financing for the borrowers. The conspirators, and others, continued to promise the prospective borrowers that Quest would soon be providing millions of dollars of financing; however, Quest did not provide the financing nor did it refund any of the deposits.
Ford faces a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross loss or gross gain from the scheme, whichever is greater.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; and Shelly Binkowski, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Sara Miron Bloom of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.