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Wednesday, November 22, 2006


RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E. B. Holding announced that STANLEY H. VAN ETTEN, 45, of Windemere, Florida, has been sentenced to ten years in federal prison for bilking thousands of investors out of over $165 million dollars. On Tuesday, November 21, 2006, United States District Judge Terrence W. Boyle ordered VAN ETTEN to serve two 60-month terms in prison and to make restitution in the amount of $14,339,820 to the victims of the now defunct Mayflower Venture Capital Fund III.

The prosecution involved two schemes. The first scheme was the multi-level marketing company International Heritage (IHI), involving over 150,000 individuals and gross receipts of over $150,000,000 at its peak. The second scheme, Mayflower Fund III, a Raleigh-based capital venture fund was supposed to invest in the BuildNet IPO. It was discovered that 120 investors were defrauded of over $15,000,000 when Mayflower funds were used for other purposes without the investors knowledge. United States Attorney Holding said of the convictions, “Stanley VAN ETTEN’S Raleigh-based pyramid scheme, International Heritage, and his other frauds have finally come to an end with a 10-year sentence in federal prison. Federal regulators previously called International Heritage one of the biggest pyramid schemes they'd ever seen. Today’s sentence is a just end for the man who, with the help of his co-conspirators, built his pyramid and investment schemes on the backs of over 150,000 victims.”

Two of VAN ETTEN'S former business associates were also sentenced yesterday. TOM D. EILERS, 73, of Cary, was sentenced to five years probation, the first ten months of which will be served under house arrest, and 150 hours of community service. EILERS, an accountant for the Mayflower Venture Capital Fund III, had previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud. JOHN D. BROTHERS, 41, of Texas, was sentenced to twenty months in prison for a conspiracy count related to his role with International Heritage.

Sentencing hearings remain for two of VAN ETTEN’S former associates found guilty by a federal jury in May, 2006, of charges related to Mayflower. BRENT E. WOOD, 43, of Cary, and DIANE W. PACE, 43, of Cary, face punishment for their role as fund managers of Mayflower Venture Capital Fund III.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Assistant U. S. Attorneys J. Gaston B. Williams and Clay C. Wheeler prosecuted the case for the United States.


News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at within 48 hours of release.

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