Marketing Company President Charged with Wire Fraud
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Michael D. Towner, 58, of Los Angeles, California, was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court in Tallahassee after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with sixteen counts of wire fraud. The indictment was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The indictment alleges that Towner was president of Foundation Consultants Corporation (FCC) and the Towner Corporation, companies that provided marketing support for The Dream Foundation. The Dream Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established to create and market the Florida Live the Dream specialty license plate. Florida law permits companies handling marketing for specialty license plates to receive up to 25% of the total funds received from the sale of the plates.
The indictment further alleges that, between July 2010 and November 2015, Towner arranged to issue payments to FCC and the Towner Corporation in excess of the 25% permitted by Florida law. In total, Towner allegedly made or caused to be made transfers of more than $250,000 over the permitted amount to FCC and the Towner Corporation from the funds received through sale of the Florida Live the Dream specialty license plate. Towner also allegedly falsified annual reports detailing the amount of money distributed to the charities supported by the Dream Foundation.
The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison. The trial is scheduled for December 11, 2017, at 8:15 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee.
This case resulted from an investigation by the Department of Financial Services – Division of Investigative and Forensics Services Office of Fiscal Integrity and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Gary Milligan is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.