Resident Of York, Maine Pleads Guilty To Investment Fraud Scheme And Failing To File Federal Tax Returns
CONCORD, N.H. - William Bischoff, 76, of York, Maine, has pleaded guilty to participating in an 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 more than $4.2 million 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 also admitted in court documents that he 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 to one count of wire fraud and one count of willfully failing to file federal tax returns. He will be sentenced on June 20th, 2018.
“Mr. Bischoff manipulated and misled his victims, depriving them of millions of hard-earned dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to working closely with our law enforcement partners to identify those who commit such schemes and to seek justice for the victims of white collar crimes.”
“Mr. Bischoff is finally taking responsibility for defrauding his clients out of millions of dollars. Through a web of lies and deceit, Mr. Bischoff betrayed their trust and used their money to line his own pockets and prop up his failed investments,” said Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Boston Division. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to do everything we can to hold accountable those who take advantage of unwitting victims for their own personal gain.”
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."
“Mr. Bischoff’s investment scheme has destroyed the financial security of his unwitting victims. Rather than act in the interest of his clients, he acted only in his own,” said Special Agent in Charge Joel P. Garland of IRS Criminal Investigation in Boston. “We are proud to collaborate on joint cases of this magnitude, which defraud investors of millions in savings and the IRS of significant tax revenue.”
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 Attorneys William Morse and Robert Kinsella prosecuted the case.