Franklin County Man Indicted on Fraud Charges
St. Louis, MO – Stuart B. Millner was charged yesterday in connection with an alleged scheme to defraud clients and financial institutions in connection with the operation of his auction business, Stuart B. Millner & Associates (SBMA), and related entities.
According to the indictment, SBMA was engaged in the business of appraising, marketing, liquidating and auctioning assets from industrial and commercial facilities. SBMA entered into contracts with several clients to conduct auctions to sell their property and collect the proceeds from the sales, for which SBMA would receive a commission. But according to the indictment, Millner caused SBMA to misdirect sales proceeds that should have been held by SBMA for the benefit of its clients and to direct those proceeds to pay company expenses and debts owed by the company to previous clients. The indictment charges that this "Ponzi-like" activity violated several federal laws, including statutes criminalizing mail fraud and wire fraud.
The indictment also alleges that Millner caused SBMA to falsely report to customers that auctioned items had sold for less than they had in fact sold for, a misrepresentation that was designed to conceal Millner’s fraudulent activities. Millner is also accused of having made an application for loans on behalf of two other companies in which he submitted false financial statements. As a result of these activities, Millner is alleged to have caused at least $2.5 million in losses to clients and obtained in excess of $6 million in fraudulent loans from financial institutions.
Millner, Union, MO, was indicted by a federal grand jury late Wednesday on three felony counts of bank fraud, one felony count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution, four felony counts of wire fraud and two felony counts of mail fraud.
If convicted, each count of bank fraud and mail fraud affecting a financial institution carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million; each of the other counts carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentences, a Judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Richard E. Finneran is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
As is always the case, charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.