News and Press Releases

Alexandria Man Pleads Guilty to Million-Dollar Investment Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 8, 2014

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Christopher Cunningham, 46, of Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to a wire fraud scheme in which Cunningham solicited investments, typically from elderly clients, based on fraudulent promises and representations.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Kathy A. Michalko, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Cunningham admitted to conducting an investment fraud scheme from approximately 2005 to 2011.  During that time, Cunningham worked as an investment adviser, and in that position, he solicited investments from clients, who typically were elderly.  Among other things, Cunningham promised these clients guaranteed returns and made certain false representations, including that he was not being personally compensated in connection with their investments and the money could be paid back in a single day if needed.  Once he obtained the money from these clients, however, Cunningham used it to fund his private companies and for his personal use. Cunningham repaid very little of his clients’ investments, and as a result of his fraud, investors lost more than $1,000,000.

Cunningham faces a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison when he is sentenced on October 3, 2014.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service with the assistance of the Virginia State Corporation Commission’s Division of Securities and Retail Franchising.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Chad Golder is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-225.

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