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Press Release

Palmer Man Sentenced to 24 months for Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska – U.S. Attorney Bryan Schroder announced that a Palmer man was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison for Wire Fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343.  

Faunus Michael Doney, fka Christopher Michael Wold, 37, of Palmer, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Joshua M. Kindred to serve 24 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release.  He was also ordered to pay $377, 946.14 in restitution to the victims of his fraudulent scheme. Doney pleaded guilty to Wire Fraud on September 22, 2020.

According to a Felony Information filed in August of 2020, Doney devised and participated in a scheme that defrauded three victims beginning in August 2018 and continuing until at least June 2019. Additional court documents reveal that Doney, a licensed insurance broker in Alaska, worked for a life insurance and annuity company based in Iowa. Doney was responsible for marketing life insurance and annuities to new and existing clients in Alaska, many of whom were elderly and purchased those products to secure income in retirement or for estate planning. Doney travelled throughout Alaska and hosted seminars designed to encourage elderly Alaskans to invest in his products. Although Doney was aware that the three victims identified in the Information had limited retirement savings, he convinced them to invest much of their savings with him by promising significant guaranteed returns. In reality, there were no investments: Doney simply redirected the victims’ funds to his personal and business accounts, created fictitious balance sheets, account statements, and other doctored evidence and to allay his victims’ concerns.   

In imposing prison time, Judge Kindred remarked that he hoped the sentence would send a message to Doney and others that fraudulent conduct on this scale will be met with serious consequences.

The IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI conducted the investigation leading to the successful prosecution in this case, with support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the State of Alaska Division of Insurance. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Klugman.

Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. It is a term used to describe five subtypes of elder abuse: physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting at least 10% of older Americans every year. Together with our federal, state, local and tribal partners, the Department of Justice is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness. This holistic and robust response demonstrates the Department’s unwavering dedication to fighting for justice for older Americans. To learn more about the Elder Abuse Financial Exploitation Resources, visit the DOJ Elder Abuse Resource Roadmap.  

Updated February 3, 2021

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 21-010