Minneapolis man sentenced for orchestrating $20 million investment scam
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS – Earlier today in federal court, a 63-year-old Minneapolis man was
sentenced for orchestrating four different investment scams that lured people into investing
millions of dollars in ventures that were never finished. United States District Court Chief Judge
Michael J. Davis sentenced Michael Joseph Krzyzaniak to 151 months in prison on one count of
wire fraud and one count of income tax evasion.
As the sentencing hearing began, Chief Judge Davis advised Krzyzaniak that the U.S.
Attorney’s Office has made it a priority to weed out those who have engaged in fraud. And while
imposing sentence, the judge went on to call Krzyzaniak, who was previously convicted in the
District of Minnesota for a similar crime, a “sociopath or something close to it.”
Krzyzaniak was indicted on April 12, 2011, and pleaded guilty on June 28, 2011. In his plea
agreement, Krzyzaniak, also known as Michael Joseph Crosby, admitted that from 2003 through
January of 2011, he conducted a scheme to defraud individuals in Minnesota and elsewhere by
convincing them to invest money in prospective business projects, which, in fact, turned out to
be fraudulent. In total, investors provided Krzyzaniak with between $20 and $50 million for
After today’s sentence was imposed, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said, “Krzayzaniak
represents the worst in criminals in that he does not learn from or feel remorse for his wrong
doing. Instead, he just continues to victimize those around him. As a result, he needs to be
removed from our community, so he cannot defraud anyone else. And that’s exactly what Chief
Judge Davis has done.”
In his position as the president or business officer for one or more business entities,
Krzyzaniak contacted potential investors and induced them to contribute funds by making false
statements about purported investment opportunities. The business projects he claimed to be
developing included Internet terminals at airports; golf courses in various states; a golf club
resort in Desert Hot Springs, California; alternative energy projects in Hartsel Springs, Colorado;
and a NASCAR-type race track in Elko, Minnesota.
Krzyzaniak told investors their money would be invested in a particular project, and that
they could expect a substantial investment return. He then indicated that each project was
proceeding toward a successful conclusion, having secured appropriate approval from the
government, regulatory agencies, and others. In addition, Krzyazniak claimed he had various
financing sources available, if needed, as well as a number of celebrity endorsements. All of
those representations were false.
Krzyzaniak admittedly spent large portions of the funds provided him to pay for personal
expenses, fund his lavish lifestyle, and distribute lulling payments. In some instances,
Krzyzaniak invested funds but only in an effort to prevent the fraud from being discovered.
In addition, Krzyzaniak admitted that between 2004 and 2007, he failed to file federal
income tax returns or pay income taxes, as required by law.
As indicated above, this was not Krzyzaniak’s first encounter with the federal criminal
justice system. In 1993, he pleaded guilty to mail fraud in the District of Minnesota in
connection to another investment scheme but fled before the case was resolved. He was
ultimately apprehended in Florida and sentenced to 72 months in prison. He failed to disclose
that information to any of his recent investors.
Following today’s hearing, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge of the St. Paul Field
Office of the IRS–Criminal Investigation Division, said, “The role of IRS-Criminal Investigation
becomes even more important in investment fraud cases due to the complex financial
transactions that can take time to unravel. IRS–CID is actively pursuing promoters who
knowingly conduct these types of investment schemes.” And she warned, “Investment schemes
that seem too good to be true should be a signal to investors to stay clear. As we often see, the
victims are not only the taxpayers but also the individuals and entities who suffer the financial
The current case against Krzyzaniak was the result of an investigation by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service-
Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christian S.
Wilton and Nicole A. Engisch.
This law enforcement action is in part sponsored by the interagency Financial Fraud
Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and
proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. It includes representatives from a
broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local
law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil
enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive
branch and, with state and local partners, investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat
discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial
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