Owner of Jet Boat Companies Indicted for Fraud
Christopher Bohnenkamp Arrested in New York
BOISE - Christopher Bohnenkamp, 41, formerly of Kuna, Idaho, was indicted on September 13, 2016, by a federal grand jury sitting in Boise for wire fraud and bank fraud, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. On September 15, 2016, Bohnenkamp surrendered to an arrest warrant in Buffalo, New York and was taken into custody. An initial appearance is set before the United States Magistrate Court in Buffalo at 12 p.m. EST.
The indictment, unsealed upon Bohnenkamp’s surrender to the arrest warrant, alleges that Bohnenkamp owned two companies – Bohnenkamp’s Whitewater Customs, Inc. and Treasure Valley Marine, Inc. – that custom built jet boats and trailers. In 2014, Bohnenkamp devised a scheme to defraud customers and material vendors of his companies by misrepresenting that his companies would custom build and deliver jet boats and trailers and pay vendors for materials that they supplied on credit.
The indictment alleges that, from 2012 through 2014, Bohnenkamp accepted approximately $1,611,339 in upfront payments from fifteen customers, but never built and delivered the jet boats and trailers they ordered. Still owing these customers the jet boats and trailers they ordered, and owing material vendors for component parts purchased on credit, the defendant continued to accept orders and upfront payments from new customers from May of 2014 through December of 2014, during which time his companies were insolvent. According to the Indictment, during this time, thirteen new customers paid Bohnenkamp’s companies approximately $1,662,699, and received either unfinished boat hulls or nothing in return.
The indictment further alleges that, between 2012 and 2014, Bohnenkamp defrauded KeyBank and Washington Trust Bank in connection with approximately $1,006,053 in proceeds they lent to six customers to purchase jet boats and trailers. The indictment alleges that Bohnenkamp caused the banks to be provided with false bills of sale that misrepresented that down payments were made, inflated trade-in values, and omitted kick-backs of cash.
The indictment further alleges that, if convicted of wire fraud, the defendant shall forfeit $1,662,699, and that, if convicted of bank fraud, the defendant shall forfeit $1,006,053.
The charge of wire fraud, affecting a financial institution, is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1,000,000, and up to five years of supervised release.
The charge of bank fraud is punishable by up to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $1,000,000, and up to five years of supervised release.
The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Today's announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama's Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.