Two More Defendants Plead Guilty to Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracy
NEW ORLEANS – DILLON ARCENEAUX, age 33 and a resident of Marrero, Louisiana, and ZEB SARTIN, age 36 and a resident of Lafayette, Louisiana, both pleaded guilty on August 2, 2023 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.
As according to court documents, ARCENEAUX and SARTIN conspired with RYAN MULLEN, DUANE DUFRENE, GRANT MENARD, and LANCE VALLO to use several assetless shell Louisiana companies to defraud a merchant cash 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, aided by another, created falsified bank records for the companies. MULLEN then used an alias and claimed to be a broker for the companies he helped create.
Using yet 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 victim losses of approximately $6.4 million. ARCENEAUX was responsible for approximately $1.6 million in losses to the victim, and SARTIN was responsible for approximately $2.1 million.
ARCENEAUX and SARTIN are to be sentenced on November 1, 2023 and face 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 defendants face 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 has 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 of the Financial Crimes Unit and Andre Lagarde of the Public Integrity Unit.
Shane M. Jones
Public Information Officer
United States Attorney's, Eastern District of Louisiana
United States District of Louisiana
Updated August 4, 2023