Maine Man Sentenced to 48 Months in Prison for Investment Fraud Scheme and Failing to File Federal Tax Returns
CONCORD - William Bischoff, 76, of York, Maine, was sentenced to serve 48 months in prison for operating a multi-million dollar investment fraud scheme and failing to file federal income tax returns, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, from 2009 through September 2017, Bischoff defrauded more than two dozen clients of his financial advisory business by falsely promising to invest their money in real estate, structured legal settlements, high yield notes, and a start-up recycling business. He further guaranteed returns that far exceeded market norms. Bischoff sent many solicitations to the victims of the fraud scheme by e-mail.
In total, Bischoff stole $5,647,446.33 from the defrauded investors. To conceal that conduct, Bischoff used money he received from some victim investors to make payments to other victim investors. He also provided monthly account statements to the victim investors that falsely represented the balance of their (fictitious) investment accounts.
Bischoff’s also failed to file individual federal tax returns for the four-year period from 2011 to 2015, which resulted in a $568,845 tax revenue loss to the U.S. Treasury.
Bischoff pleaded guilty on March 9, 2018, to one count of wire fraud and one count of willfully failing to file federal tax returns.
“It is hard to comprehend the emotional and financial harm that Mr. Bischoff inflicted on the victims of his criminal conduct,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “It is my sincere hope that the prosecution of this case will deter other people from engaging in similar conduct. Those who commit financial crimes should understand that we will aggressively prosecute them and will not hesitate to recommend substantial prison sentences.”
“Mr. Bischoff betrayed his unsuspecting clients and defrauded them out of millions of dollars through an elaborate scheme he devised for his own personal gain,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division. “The FBI is committed to working with our law enforcement partners in rooting out those who engage in financial crimes like this. Those who abuse their positions of trust to illegally enrich themselves will be held accountable for their actions.”
The Deputy Director of the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation, Jeffrey Spill, said, "The Bureau was pleased to do its part in this coordinated investigation. When the fraud was uncovered, the agencies acted quickly to shut the scheme down which prevented further losses."
"The role of IRS Criminal Investigation becomes even more important in embezzlement and fraud cases due to the complex financial transactions that can take time to unravel," said Special Agent in Charge Kristina O’Connell of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, Boston Field Office. "The federal tax laws are routinely violated in these cases which can add additional jail time. “
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation. Assistant United States Attorney Robert Kinsella prosecuted the case, which was originally handled by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Morse.