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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Former CFO of ETA Compute Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud

Timothy Semones Embezzled $3 Million to Build House in Ketchum

BOISE – Timothy Semones, 60, of Ketchum, Idaho, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today. Semones was indicted by a federal grand jury in Boise on February 12, 2020, on ten counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Sentencing is set for December 8, 2020, before Chief U.S. District Judge David C. Nye at the federal courthouse in Boise.

According to court records, Semones admitted that, in 2017 and 2018, he was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of ETA Compute, Inc. (ETA), a corporation with its principal place of business in Los Angeles, California. Semones worked remotely from Ketchum. As part of his duties as CFO, Semones had access to ETA’s Wells Fargo Bank business checking account and had the ability to make online transfers of funds from this account.

According to court records, in 2017 and 2018, Semones was in the process of designing and building an approximate 7,000 square foot personal residence located at 29 Lake Creek Drive in Ketchum. Between October 2017 and November 2018, Semones made nine online transfers of funds, totaling $3 million, from ETA’s Wells Fargo Bank business checking account to personal bank accounts over which he had access and control. Semones used the misappropriated funds to pay construction costs for the residence at 29 Lake Creek Drive, and to pay off the balance of a line of credit used to build the residence.

According to court records, in November 2018, when ETA’s Chief Executive Officer confronted Semones about the low balance of funds in ETA’s Wells Fargo Bank business checking account, Semones made false statements about the location and balance of funds.  Further, Semones emailed falsified Wells Fargo Bank records – that made it appear that ETA’s bank account had $1.5 million more than it actually did – to ETA’s Chief Executive Officer.

In May 2020, the Lake Creek Drive property was sold. ETA was provided with $3 million, in full restitution for its loss, from the proceeds of the sale.

The charge of wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in federal prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, and up to three years of supervised release.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
CASSIE FULGHUM Public Information Officer (208) 334-1211
Updated August 25, 2020