Springfield man sentenced for Internet fraud;
investors lost more than $1 million
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Springfield, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for using the Internet to promote a real estate scheme in which investors lost more than $1 million.
John Michael Sheehan, 51, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard E. Dorr to five years and four months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Sheehan to pay $1,038,670 to 21 individual victim investors.
On Aug. 3, 2010, Sheehan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as a money laundering conspiracy. His wife, Alesia Claremae Sheehan, 50, also of Springfield, has pleaded guilty to her role in the mail and wire fraud conspiracy and awaits sentencing.
Sheehan used his businesses, John Michael Investment, LLC, (JMI) and 3MOM, Inc., to defraud investors who paid to purchase and rehabilitate residential properties from June 1, 2005, through June 30, 2006.
Sheehan used a Web site to solicit investments to purchase and rehabilitate single family residential homes, which would then be sold and the proceeds split between the investors and JMI. The Web site promoted John Sheehan (using the name of “John Michael”) as “the King of Bling” and promised investors a 10 to 18 percent return within a year on a minimum investment of $15,000. Investors also attended investment seminars hosted by Sheehan.
Although investors were told that they would be the sole investor on each property, Sheehan admitted that he collected investments from multiple investors for the same properties. Sheehan also admitted that he diverted some of these investments and did not actually use the money to purchase or rehabilitate the properties.
For example, eight investors provided a total of $120,000 for the purchase and rehabilitation of a property at 2054 N. Park in Springfield. However, Sheehan admitted that he did not purchase the property.
In another instance, five investors provided a total of $83,375 for the purchase and rehabilitation of a property at 2006 N. Travis in Springfield. Sheehan purchased the property for $19,900 and it was later sold for $69,900, but Sheehan did not return any money to the five investors.This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Missouri Secretary of State and the Missouri Attorney General.