IDAHO FALLS MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT FRAUD SCHEME
Daren Palmer, 42, of Idaho Falls, waived his right to indictment and entered guilty pleas this afternoon to both counts of an information charging him with wire fraud and money laundering. The plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge in Pocatello. Sentencing was scheduled for August 22, 2011, in Pocatello.
The information alleged that from 2002 through December 2008, Palmer owned and operated Trigon Group LLC in Idaho Falls, and solicited clients to invest money in the Trigon Group. In the plea agreement, Palmer admitted that in September 2008 he solicited a client to invest $500,000 with Trigon, promising the client a favorable rate of return and a safe investment. Palmer did not tell the client that he would use the invested funds to pay other investors or that Trigon was already in financial trouble. The plea agreement further states that between 2002 and December 2008, Palmer received approximately $75.8 million from sixtyeight investors, who then lost more than $20 million.
In the plea agreement, Palmer also acknowledged that he laundered money by using funds from the Trigon bank account to make a personal purchase of $110,550 from a jewelry store.
“As a result of this defendant’s nearly decade-long fraud scheme, many victims lost their property, their retirement security or funds for their children’s education,” said Olson. “Today’s guilty plea is a significant step in obtaining justice for Daren Palmer’s victims and deterring others from preying on innocent investors.”
“The FBI is pleased to have collaborated with the Internal Revenue Service to thoroughly investigate this financial fraud,” said James S. McTighe, FBI Special Agent-in-Charge for the Salt Lake Division. “These types of schemes can rob individuals of their life savings, their homes, their hopes and dreams. FBI Special Agents are dedicated to investigating white collar crime because of the lasting impact it has on families and society. Mr. Palmer’s scheme deserved and received our full attention and as a result he will now face the consequences of his actions.”
“Investment fraud has brought financial ruin to many Americans and we are committed with our law enforcement partners to bring those to justice who prey on the trust of their clients,” said Sean Sowards, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation for the Boise office.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years imprisonment followed by up to three years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $250,000. Money laundering is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment, up to three years of supervised release, and a maximum fine of $250,000.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS Criminal Investigation.
Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) is a collaborative effort by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and communities to prevent and deter gun violence.