Mining Company Owners Plead Guilty to Fraud Charges
St. Louis, MO – CRISTOPHER CRISTEA and DAVID COREY TOLLE pled guilty to charges involving the solicitation of investors with promises of large returns from mining activities. Instead, the money was used to pay personal expenses and repay earlier investors. Tolle entered his plea today. Cristea pled last week.
According to court documents, in May 2009, Cristea and Tolle formed Cristol Enterprises, LLC and Charis Minerals, Inc. They solicited investors for Cristol Enterprises, LLC and Charis Minerals, Inc., which purported to be in the business of exploring for and extracting valuable minerals, such as gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc, through mining operations in the western United States, including Arizona and Oregon, and in Western Africa. The investors were told that the money would be used to purchase property and equipment and pay for administration and other expenses involved in the exploration, and they were promised large returns on their investments, often over a short period of time. Instead, a substantial majority of the money was used for personal expenditures and unrelated business expenses. In one instance, Cristea used funds to provide student loans to beauty academy students, and in another instance, funds were used to repay an earlier investor.
In December 2014, after he had previously been arrested on this indictment, Cristopher Cristea applied for a $1 million line of credit at a bank. In the application, he falsely stated that he was not a defendant in any suit or legal action. Additionally, he falsely stated that he had $295,000 cash in checking accounts and had securities – stocks/bonds/mutual funds – in the amount of $13,000,000.
David Corey Tolle, St. Charles, MO, pled guilty today to one felony count of wire fraud. Cristopher Cristea, also of St. Charles, MO, pled guilty last week to one felony count of conspiracy, four felony counts of wire fraud, one felony count of money laundering and one felony count of making a false statement to a financial institution. Both defendants appeared before United States District Judge Carol E. Jackson. Sentencing for Cristea has been set for April 20, 2016. Sentencing for Tolle is set for May 2, 2016.
Each of the conspiracy and fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and/or fines up to $250,000; money laundering carries a maximum of 10 years prison and/or fines up to $250,000; false statement to a financial institution carries a maximum of 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Steven Muchnick is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.