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Press Release

Steven William Carpenter, Suzette Gulyas Gal, And Andras Zoltan Gal Sentenced In U.S. District Court

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

The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on August 26, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Sam E. Haddon, STEVEN WILLIAM CARPENTER, age 56, SUZETTE GULYAS GAL, age 55, and ANDRAS ZOLTAN GAL, age 22, residents of California, were sentenced as follows.

STEVEN WILLIAM CARPENTER was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 188 months

Special Assessment: $300

Restitution: $675,406.62

Supervised Release: 3 years

ANDRAS ZOLTAN GAL was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 72 months

Special Assessment: $300

Restitution: $675,406.62

Supervised Release: 2 years

SUZETTE GULYAS GAL was sentenced to a term of:

Prison: 120 months

Special Assessment: $300

Restitution: $675,406.62

Supervised Release: 3 years


Count I: Conspiracy to Commit Fraud

Count II: Investment Fraud and Wire Fraud

Count III: Investment Fraud and Wire Fraud

In addition, SUZETTE GAL was sentenced to 6 months prison, to run concurrently, after having been found guilty at a second trial of contempt of court.

At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.

The above-named defendants worked together to solicit funds from the elderly, the infirm, and the gullible by persuading these individuals to invest in fraudulent and fictitious oil and gas investment opportunities on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

While the defendants initially obtained legitimate oil and gas leases on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, those rights were terminated on October 5, 2007, for failure to make the required lease payments. Moreover, the defendants never made any legitimate payment to establish or further an oil or gas venture on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation.

Despite all of the above, the defendants bilked investors into paying well in excess of half a million dollars in a non-existent venture. The case involved over fifty victims, most of whom struggled to make ends meet even before losing money to the fraud. All while the victims suffered, the defendants enjoyed a life of luxury, took extravagant vacations, and basked in the fruits of their fraud.

Today's sentencings of Steven Carpenter, Suzette Gal, and Andras Gal sends an important message to professional telemarketers who prey on the country's elderly, desperate, and gullible. The only way to stem the tide of these predators is to let them know that when they are caught the consequences will be significant. The United States Attorney's Office will continue every effort and enlist every resource to identify and prosecute those who enrich themselves by defrauding others. This investigation, which involved hundreds of man hours of undercover operations, surveillance, forensic document examination, and witness interviews, was a near perfect cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Interior's Office of Inspector General. Rarely do we see such seamless and effective coordination of agency efforts. I want to commend the excellent work done by our trial lawyers, AUSAs Carl Rostad and Ryan Weldon who tried the case on behalf of the United States, and investigators who conducted an extraordinary investigation." U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter.

Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that they will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, they do have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.

The investigation was conducted by a team of agents and auditors working with the U.S. Attorney's Guardians Project, including the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Interior and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Updated January 14, 2015