Steven William Carpenter, Suzette Gulyas Gal, Andras Zoltan Gal, and Kristian Zoltan George Gal Found Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that on May 1, 2013, in Great Falls, at a federal district court trial before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, the following individuals were charged with the following counts:
Count I: Conspiracy to Commit Fraud
Count II: Investment Fraud and Wire Fraud
Count III: Investment Fraud and Wire Fraud
After a 7-day jury trial, STEVEN WILLIAM CARPENTER, age 56, SUZETTE GULYAS GAL, age 55, and ANDRAS ZOLTAN GAL, age 22, residents of California, were found guilty of Counts 1, 2, and 3.
KRISTIAN ZOLTAN GEORGE GAL, age 29, a resident of California, was found guilty of Count I.
Sentencing is set for August 19, 2013. They are currently detained.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
The above-named defendants worked together to solicit funds from the elderly, the infirm, and the gullible by persuading these individuals to invest in fraudulent and fictitious oil and gas investment opportunities on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
While the defendants initially obtained legitimate oil and gas leases on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, those rights were terminated on October 5, 2007, for failure to make the required lease payments. Moreover, the defendants never made any legitimate payment to establish or further an oil or gas venture on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.
Despite all of the above, the defendants bilked investors into paying well in excess of half a million dollars in a non-existent venture. The case involved over fifty victims, most of whom struggled to make ends meet even before losing money to the fraud. All while the victims suffered, the defendants enjoyed a life of luxury, took extravagant vacations, and basked in the fruits of their fraud.
Today's jury verdict, convicting Steven Carpenter, Suzette Gal, Andras Gal and Kristian Gal, together with the earlier guilty plea of the ring-leader, Mike Campa, represents a significant blow to the loose organization of professional telemarketers who prey every day on the country's elderly, desperate, and gullible. Too many of the operations go undetected and unhindered. The only way to stem the tide is for these predators to know --- without question --- that when they are caught the consequences will be significant. The United States Attorney's Office will continue every effort and enlist every resource to identify and prosecute those who enrich themselves by defrauding others. This investigation, which involved hundreds of man hours of undercover operations, surveillance, forensic document examination, and witness interviews, was a near perfect cooperative effort between the FBI and the Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General. Rarely do we see such seamless and effective coordination of agency efforts. I want to commend the excellent work done by our trial lawyers, AUSAs Carl Rostad and Ryan Weldon who tried the case on behalf of the United States, and investigators who conducted an extraordinary investigation."
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carl E. Rostad and Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case for the United States.
They face possible penalties of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release for the conspiracy to commit fraud charge, and 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and 3 years supervised release for each of the wire fraud and mail fraud charges.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Interior - Office of Inspector General.