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Press Release

New Hampshire Man Sentenced to Prison and Ordered to Pay Over $1.2 Million Following Conviction for Wire Fraud Related to Dog Training Business

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama

           Montgomery, Alabama – Today, Acting United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross announced that a federal judge sentenced 42-year-old Joseph Robert Merry, Jr., a resident of Plaistow, New Hampshire, to 51 months in prison for wire fraud.

           According to his plea agreement and other court records, from 2017 to 2018, Merry engaged in a fraudulent scheme involving dog training businesses. During his plea hearing, Merry specifically admitted to convincing multiple individuals to invest in dog training businesses he reported to have started in Indiana, New Jersey, and Lee County, Alabama. In doing so, Merry made false claims about large prospective contracts.

           To carry out his scheme, Merry occasionally pretended to be a potential customer. On one occasion, he falsely claimed to be a high ranking official of an energy company seeking to enter into a large contract with one of Merry’s dog training businesses. Through these falsities, Merry sought to gain the trust of his investors. Based on Merry’s misrepresentations, some of the investors spent additional money and made significant payments in anticipation of fulfilling the fictional contracts. In addition, numerous new employees moved to different states for jobs they expected to be have with one of these dog training businesses.  However, the jobs never came. All the while, Merry used the proceeds of the investments for his own personal benefit.

           During the March 27, 2024, sentencing hearing, the judge also ordered Merry to pay restitution in the amount of $1,271.790 to his victims, and to forfeit $1,515,000 in assets.

           The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Opelika Police Department investigated this case, which Assistant United States Attorney J. Patrick Lamb prosecuted.

Updated March 29, 2024

Financial Fraud