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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of South Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Federal Jury Convicts Pennsylvania Man and New Mexico Man for Their Roles in Fraud, Money Laundering & Obstruction Conspiracies

Nearly $13 Million in Fraud Proceeds Used on Purchasing Real Estate in Norway, a Mercedes Benz, Silver, and Defendants’ Personal Expenses

Acting United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that Nathan J. Peachey, age 50, of Pennsylvania, and John Rick Winer, age, 67 of New Mexico, were convicted by a federal jury in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, after a seven-day trial before U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.  The guilty verdicts were returned on November 23, 2021.

Peachey was convicted of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments, Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice, and nine counts of Laundering Monetary Instruments.  Winer was likewise convicted of the three conspiracy offenses, in addition to four counts of Wire Fraud and five counts of Laundering Monetary Instruments.  The jury also returned a special verdict relating to the forfeiture of a residence in Norway, a luxury vehicle, and silver coins.

“Luring victims into believing their money would be invested to better humanity, the defendants engaged in a long-running, international scheme to steal and launder victims’ money for self-enrichment,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Dennis R. Holmes.  “The jury’s verdict validates the extensive work of this Office and of its law enforcement partners across the United States and in Norway.  Together, we will continue to use every available tool to combat and prevent criminals from exploiting victims for personal benefit.”

“Mr. Peachey and Mr. Winer preyed on the charitable hearts of innocent victims.  IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling complex schemes that send victim’s money overseas.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to track ill-gotten gains and bring these criminals to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge, Tyler Hatcher, IRS Criminal Investigation, St. Louis Field Office.

“During the trial, we heard evidence of the defendants boasting on tape about their ability to con ‘99-percent of the population,’ which shows that anyone can become a victim of a scam,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul. “But it only strengthens our resolve to hold these con men responsible for their actions, no matter the type of scam or their intended target.”

The maximum penalties for each counts of conviction are 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both imprisonment and a fine, a term of three years of supervised release, a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund, restitution, and forfeiture.

Defendants Nathan Peachey and John Rick Winer were originally indicted by a federal grand jury on November 5, 2019.  A second Superseding Indictment was filed on October 6, 2020.

According to evidence presented at trial, Peachey resided in and operated from the State of Pennsylvania and from a suburb of Oslo, Norway.  Peachey aided in soliciting millions of dollars from investors in the United States, and he received funds from others who were involved in the fraud scheme.  Funds obtained by and through Peachey were, in part, laundered through and into domestic and international bank accounts.  After his receipt of funds, Peachey would transfer or wire funds to his co-conspirators, and he also would use funds on personal expenditures.

Winer resided and operated from New Mexico, among other places.  Winer recruited individuals from South Dakota and elsewhere to invest in various projects, and he solicited funds that were obtained through the fraud scheme.  After his receipt of funds, Winer would transfer or wire funds to his co-conspirators and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, and he also would use funds on personal expenditures.

As to the scheme to defraud the victims across the country, Peachey and Winer, along with their co-conspirators, informed investors that the monies provided to one or more of the co-conspirators would be used for charitable or humanitarian projects, oftentimes using religion to entice and induce victims into investing money in the scheme.  They also made promises that there would be a return on investments.  Peachey and Winer informed investors that the monies provided to one or more of the co-conspirators would not be expended on personal expenses.  Investor money was not used for charitable or for humanitarian projects, and investors never received a return on investments relating to the monies provided to Peachey, Winer or their co-conspirators.  The purpose of the conspiracy was to enrich the co-conspirators, all of whom amassed nearly $13 million and then spent the fraud proceeds on a luxury residence located in a suburb of Oslo, Norway, renovation costs on the house, a Mercedes Benz, nearly $4 million in silver, travel, and personal expenses.  This fraud scheme impacted victims from around the United States, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Peachey, Winer, and their co-conspirators utilized, independently or jointly, entities to perpetrate the fraud scheme, including, but not limited to:  AG Enterprises, L.L.C.; House of Winer; Jacobs Provision Trust; The Joseph Project; Jericho Outreach; Jericho Outreach – Norway; Christian Charity Foundation; and G47 Initiative.  These entities were fake and used to receive fraud proceeds and launder money.

Through extensive coordination and partnership, this complex, long-running fraud and money laundering case was investigated and prosecuted by the following entities:

  • Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation;
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation;
  • ØKOKRIM, the Norwegian National Authority for Prosecution and Investigation of Economic and Environmental Crime, Oslo, Norway;
  • Oslo, Norway, Police Department;
  • Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs; and
  • South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremy R. Jehangiri and Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing date was set for February 14, 2022.  The defendants were released pending their sentencing hearings.          

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated December 1, 2021