Two Plead Guilty to Federal Wire Fraud Connected to Scheme to Defraud The Department of Veteran Affairs
NEW ORLEANS –GRANT C. MENARD, age 36 and a resident of Kaplan, Louisiana, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Jane Triche-Milazzo, announced U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
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 corporations. MULLEN and DUFRENE then created fake vendor accounts for the corporations, 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 cash advance company 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 businesses before fully repaying the victim merchant cash advance company, resulting in overall losses of approximately $6.4 million. MENARD was responsible for approximately $649,990 in losses to the victim.
MENARD is to be sentenced on July 5, 2023 and faces a maximum sentence of five years on the wire fraud conspiracy, and a maximum sentence of up to twenty years on the money laundering conspiracy. After imprisonment, the defendant faces up to three years of supervised release, and up to a $250,000 fine on the wire fraud count, and up to three years of supervised release, and up to a $500,000 fine on the money laundering count. Each count also carries a mandatory special assessment fee of $100.
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 and Andre Lagarde.
Shane M. Jones
Public Information Officer
United States Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana
United States Department of Justice