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Press Release

Owner of Jet Boat Companies Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Idaho
Christopher Bohnenkamp Guilty of Wire Fraud and Bank Fraud

BOISE - Christopher Bohnenkamp, 42, formerly of Kuna, Idaho, pleaded guilty today, pursuant to a plea agreement, to one count of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud, Acting U.S. Attorney Rafael M. Gonzalez, Jr. announced.

According to the plea agreement, from 2009 through 2015, Mr. Bohnenkamp was the owner of Treasure Valley Marine, Inc. and Bohnenkamp’s Whitewater Customs, Inc. located in Meridian, Idaho (and later Boise, Idaho). TVM/BWC sold and built custom-made jet boats and trailers and generally required customers to pay upfront.

As it related to the wire fraud count, the plea agreement provided that, in or about 2014, the defendant devised and intended to devise a scheme to obtain money and property from customers and material vendors of TVM/BWC by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations and promises, and to misappropriate without authority money and property belonging to customers and material vendors of his companies. Knowing that TVM/BWC was financially insolvent, from May of 2014 through December of 2014, the defendant continued to accept orders and upfront payments from 13 new customers and parts on credit from material vendors. At the time, he knew that the upfront payments from new customers would be used to pay old debts and complete the boats of existing customers, not to construct the boats of the new customers or pay for new parts. In doing so, the defendant acted with the intent to deceive the new customers and material vendors. The 13 new customers did not receive the completed boats and trailers for which they paid. On or about December 2, 2014, for the purpose of executing the scheme, the defendant caused a $125,728 check drawn on KeyBank on behalf of customer D.H. to be deposited in Washington Trust Bank, causing an interstate wire transfer of funds.

According to the plea agreement, the defendant’s wire fraud scheme: (i) resulted in an actual loss of between $1,500,000 and $3,500,000; (ii) involved 10 or more victims; (iii) affected financial institutions, to wit: Washington Trust Bank, KeyBank, Idaho Central Credit Union, Mountain West Bank of Montana, and Les Bois Credit Union that loaned money to customers to purchase jet boats and trailers that were never built and delivered; and (iv) resulted in the defendant deriving more than $1,000,000 in gross receipts from the above financial institutions.

As it related to the bank fraud count, the plea agreement provided that, on or about January 6, 2012, in the District of Idaho, the defendant knowingly executed and attempted to execute a scheme to obtain moneys, funds, credits, asset, securities, and other property owned by, and under the custody or control of KeyBank. Specifically, the defendant caused to be submitted to KeyBank a false bill of sale for customer D.B, with the intent to defraud KeyBank. The bill of sale inflated the purchase price of the boat ordered by D.B., misrepresented that D.B. had made a $20,000 cash deposit, when he had not, and omitted that $59,283 of the loan proceeds would be kicked-back to D.B. As a result, KeyBank disbursed loan proceeds of $272,982 to TVM/BWC, of which TVM/BWC kicked-back $59,283 to D.B.

Separately for each count, Mr. Bohnenkamp faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a $1,000,000 fine, and not more than 5 years of supervised release.

for Mr. Bohnenkamp is set for August 8, 2017 at 9:00 a.m., before U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division.

Updated April 27, 2017

Financial Fraud