Nashua Felon Arrested in New Fraud Scheme
BOSTON – A Nashua man was arrested yesterday in connection with defrauding investors in a purported water resource company and laundering money obtained through various online fraud schemes.
Edmond P. LaFrance, 70, was charged in a complaint with wire fraud and money laundering. LaFrance was convicted in federal court in 1990 of structuring currency transactions, making false statements and conspiracy to defraud the United States and a second time in 2007 of wire fraud and making false statements.
The criminal complaint alleges that from 2012 to 2013, LaFrance solicited investments and loans for a shell company he created – Natural Waters – that fraudulently claimed to buy and sell mineral water in bulk. In fact, there were no mineral water sales and a large portion of the investor money LaFrance received for Natural Waters was directed to his own uses or transferred to co-conspirators. The complaint further alleges that around 2015, LaFrance laundered money for various online fraud schemes being perpetrated by individuals located primarily outside of the United States. LaFrance allegedly accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims he did not know, and with whom he had no business relationship, and wired the money to third parties whose true identities were concealed from the victims.
The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 and restitution. The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of $500,000 and restitution. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen P. Heymann of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit.
The details contained in the complaint are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.