Birmingham Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud
A Birmingham jewelry buyer, auctioneer and appraiser pleaded guilty today to devising and executing a scheme to obtain money by means of false material promises and representations from a client in the course of his business, U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider announced.
Schneider was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Steven M. D’Antuono, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Chief Mark Clemence of the Birmingham Police Department.
Joseph Gregory Dumouchelle, age 58, entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud before the Honorable Mark A. Goldsmith, United States District Judge.
According to the facts made public at the guilty plea hearing, in late 2018, Dumouchelle, began negotiating the purchase and sale of a diamond known as the “Yellow Rose.” Dumouchelle proposed the Yellow Rose as an investment opportunity to a client, TR, by claiming that the diamond could be purchase by TR for $12,000,000 and sold for substantially more. In an effort to lull TR into believing the investment was legitimate Dumouchelle told TR he could purchase the diamond by wire transferring $12,000,000 into the seller’s account. Dumouchelle sent the wire transfer directions to TR falsely representing that the account was the seller’s. In fact, as Dumouchelle well knew and intended, the wire transfer instructions were to his own account. After TR unknowingly wired the money into Dumouchelle’s account, Dumouchelle quickly withdrew the funds and used them to pay his personal and business debts and expenses.
As part of the plea agreement with the government Dumouchelle acknowledges that there are other victims of his scheme to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent material pretenses and representation and that their losses will be included as relevant conduct in calculating his sentencing guidelines and by the court in ordering restitution.
“White collar criminals may use sophisticated methods and apparently legitimate businesses, but their crimes amount to nothing more than stealing other people’s money. Dumouchelle lured his victims into believing his false promises because he held himself out to be an expert with valuable connections that would earn the victims substantial profits, but it was all a lie,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider.
“Joseph Dumouchelle defrauded his investors by convincing them that he was buying and selling rare jewelry for big profits,” said Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Michigan, Steven M. D’Antuono. “It was all a lie. Instead, Dumouchelle used the victims’ hard-earned money to help him maintain a lifestyle he could no longer afford. This case represents excellent collaboration between the Birmingham Police Department and the FBI’s Detroit Metropolitan Identity Theft and Financial Crimes Task Force.”
Chief Mark Clemence of the Birmingham Police Department stated, "Dumouchelle case is a great example of how local police agencies can work with the FBI and other federal agencies to solve complex criminal enterprises that start at the local level and have far reaching impacts throughout the country."
Sentencing has been set for January 13, 2021.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI's Detroit Metropolitan Identity Theft and Financial Crimes Task Force and the Birmingham Police Department