Former Augusta Business Woman Makes First Court
Appearance On Federal Fraud Charges
AUGUSTA, GA: REGINA M. PREETORIUS, 45, of Goodyear, Arizona was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge W. Leon Barfield yesterday during her first court appearance since being charged by a federal grand jury in a 13 count indictment for defrauding investors and homeowners and laundering the proceeds of that fraud. The indictment alleges that PREETORIUS solicited investors to loan over $1.7 million based on falsehoods, and that she misapplied the investors' money and converted those funds to her own use.
At the conclusion of yesterday’s hearing, PREETORIUS was granted a bond of $20,000. A trial date has not yet been scheduled.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver said, “Investment fraud crimes have a devastating impact on our national economy and on the individuals who are victimized. The allegations in the Preetorius indictment evidence brazen conduct for which there is no justification. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is compelled to vigorously prosecute investor fraud schemes that target innocent Americans. Those who would perpetrate such frauds should know that federal law enforcement will work tirelessly to shut down sham investment schemes and prosecute those responsible.”
If convicted, PREETORIUS faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of the 10 counts of mail fraud and 10 years in prison for each of the 3 counts of money laundering. Each of these charges also carries a fine of up to $250,000.
United States Attorney Edward J. Tarver emphasized that an indictment is only an accusation and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
IRS Special Agent Roger Garland and FBI Special Agent Paul Kubala conducted the investigation which led to the indictment. Assistant United States Attorney David Stewart is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
For additional information about this case, please contact First Assistant United States Attorney James D. Durham at (912) 201-2547. For more information about the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, visit: www.stopfraud.gov.