News and Press Releases

OTTAWA COUNTY MAN CHARGED WITH 13 COUNTS OF MAIL FRAUD IN CONNECTION WITH INTERNET ADVERTISING BUSINESS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2012

Potential Victims Are Encouraged To Contact The U.S. Attorney’s Office

GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – A federal Grand Jury returned a 13-count Indictment charging Jeffrey Curtis Folkert of Holland, Michigan, with mail fraud. The Indictment, a copy of which is available at www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/victimwitness.html, was announced today by U.S. Attorney Donald A. Davis.

The Indictment alleges that Folkert, who ran a small business called iStorm Solutions in Hamilton, Michigan, defrauded family members, friends, and others out of at least $1.5 million between 2005 and 2008 by falsely representing that he was earning substantial revenue from Google Inc. when internet users clicked on website advertisements. The Indictment further alleges that Folkert’s efforts to earn revenue through Google ads never generated any significant business profit, yet Folkert reported substantial “dividends” on the investments each month. It is further alleged that, rather than using investors’ funds as promised, Folkert deposited the money in his personal bank account, transferred money to an account outside of the United States for his personal use, purchased vehicles, and covered investor withdrawals. The Indictment states that Folkert mailed monthly statements to investors using the United States Postal Service, which gave the false impression that their money was actually invested as promised, was earning
regular dividends, and that dividends were deposited into investors’ accounts. Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Davis stated: “Financial fraud occurs in many forms, including ‘Ponzi’ and pyramid schemes, investment fraud, theft of government property and assets, identity theft, and mortgage fraud. Our prosecutors work tirelessly with federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute those fraudulent schemes, and to recover proceeds of those crimes for victims.” Individuals who believe they are victims of the allegations should contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at (616) 456-2404, or visit: www.justice.gov/usao/miw/programs/victimwitness.html for moreinformation.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Michigan State Police, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor.

The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

END

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