Apex Entrepreneur Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Water Remediation Investors and to Aggravated Identity Theft
RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that today in federal court, CHARLES GILBERT MURPHY, 63, of Apex, NC, pleaded guilty to Counts 10 and 13 of an indictment charging him with, among other things, Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft.
The Indictment alleges that MURPHY was subject to collection efforts by the United States Government arising from a prior federal conviction for Wire Fraud in June of 1999 in this same District. As such, the Indictment alleges that MURPHY caused family members to open bank accounts for him in the name of various companies he controlled, referred to in the Indictment as the “Murphy Entities.” These entities were Toxic Solutions LLC (“Toxic Solutions”), Biological Marine Remediation LLC (“Bio-Remediation”), Bio Marine Remediation LLC (“Bio-Marine”), Bio Separation Systems, LLC (“Bio-Separation”), On-Site Solutions LLC (“On-Site Solutions”), and On-Site Technologies LLC (“On-Site Technologies”).
The Indictment further alleges that MURPHY used the Murphy Entities to obtain money from individuals and entities under false and fraudulent pretenses. According to the Indictment, MURPHY represented that the Murphy Entities performed environmental cleanup activities, such as water remediation. MURPHY purported to offer to various entrepreneurial victims the opportunity to purchase exclusive rights to perform environmental cleanup services in a given geographic area. MURPHY also purported to sell the equipment necessary to perform the cleanup services. In furtherance of the scheme, MURPHY frequently presented false documents to the entrepreneurs to make it appear that funds had been allocated for services to be performed in the geographic area where the victims had purchased the exclusive rights. In reality, the documents justifying the exclusive rights purchase were falsified, and MURPHY took the money without providing all of the equipment purchased.
In furtherance of the scheme, the Indictment further alleges that MURPHY utilized the identities of others to make it appear that his companies were good investments by creating false documents and correspondence in the names of the victims.
Mr. Higdon stated, “This case arose from our Office’s continuing efforts to obtain restitution for victims of the defendant’s prior federal conviction. In the process of doing that, we learned that the defendant was at it again, deceiving a new set of victims with the same old tricks. The defendant will now have to answer to his victims, and to the court, for his actions.”
The maximum punishment for Wire Fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343) is up to 20 years in prison. The maximum punishment for Aggravated Identity Theft (18 U.S.C. § 1028A) is not less than, nor more than 2 years in prison consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed. The sentencing is tentatively scheduled for June, 2020 term of court.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represents the United States.