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Press Release

Kaplan, La. Man Sentenced to Three Years Probation for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracy

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

NEW ORLEANSGRANT C. MENARD, age 37 and a resident of Kaplan, La., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo to three years of probation after  previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans.

As according to court documents, MENARD conspired with RYAN MULLEN, DUANE DUFRENE, DILLON ARCENEAUX, LANCE VALLO, and ZEB SARTIN to use a number of shell Louisiana companies with no assets, to defraud a merchant cash advance company based in Georgia. MULLEN and DUFRENE helped establish ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN as the owners of existing companies. MULLEN and DUFRENE then created fake vendor accounts for the companies, and MULLEN, with the aid of another person, created falsified bank records for the companies. MULLEN then used an alias, claiming to be a broker for the companies he helped create.

Through the aid of another broker, MULLEN supplied the victim merchant cash advance company with the fake vendor accounts and false bank records in order to obtain funding. The victim merchant cash advance company then approved the advances and began to electronically wire ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN millions of dollars in advances. ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN laundered a portion of the funds by paying MULLEN and DUFRENE percentages of the funds. ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN then closed their non-existent companies before fully repaying the  merchant cash advance company, resulting in overall losses to the victim of approximately $6.4 million. MENARD, himself, was responsible for approximately $649,990 in losses to the victim.

In addition to the sentence, MENARD was sentenced to pay $649,990 in victim restitution, 40 hours of community service and a mandatory special assessment fee of $200.

U.S. Attorney Evans commended the special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation for their handling of the matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Edward J. Rivera of the Financial Crimes Unit and Andre Lagarde of the Public Integrity Unit.


Shane m. Jones

Public Information Officer

United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

United States Department of Justice

Updated February 21, 2024

Financial Fraud