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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

Monday, August 25, 2014

Nashville Businessman Charged With Bank Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

NASHVILLE, Tenn.- August 25, 2014 -  Eric Stephen Peterson, 52, of Nashville, Tennessee, was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 20, 2014, in connection with a scheme to defraud several banks by depositing checks with forged signatures into various accounts controlled by Peterson, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee.  Peterson is the owner and operator of Peterson Insurance Company, LLC and Peterson Enterprises, LLC.

The indictment charges Peterson with 28 counts of bank fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes a very serious and aggressive approach when working with our law enforcement partners to pursue those who commit financial crimes and so greatly impact the lives of those they steal from,” said U.S. Attorney David Rivera.  “We will continue our efforts to insure that the lives of those responsible are equally impacted and that justice is appropriately served.”

The indictment alleges that Peterson, while managing the financial affairs of another person, obtained access to that person’s investment and bank accounts and then abused his position by forging more than 200 checks totaling more than $800,000. Peterson is alleged to have deposited those checks into seven different bank accounts which he controlled and then used the money to pay purported project principal and/or distributions to investors which he had previously solicited to make investments in certain ostensible business or investment opportunities. The indictment also alleges that Peterson forged the signature of another person who was authorized to sign the checks and that he used the money to pay his general living expenses, such as restaurant tabs, utility bills and mortgage payments.

“The Secret Service remains committed to protecting our nation’s financial security, to include aggressively investigating Ponzi schemes such as the one perpetrated by Mr. Peterson that prey on the trust of individuals, often robbing them of their life savings and financial future,” said Todd Hudson, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service - Nashville Field Office. 

If convicted, Peterson faces up to 30 years in prison for the bank fraud counts, as well as an additional two years for each count of aggravated identity theft.  

The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service.  The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra G. Moses.

An indictment is merely an accusation and is not evidence of guilt.  The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

Updated March 19, 2015