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Press Release

Montana Man Charged In Connection With $43 Million Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing today of an Indictment charging TODD CAPSER with defrauding one financial institution of $43 million, and attempting to defraud at least nine other financial institutions of between $46 million and $52 million each.  CAPSER was arrested earlier today in Billings, Montana, and will be presented before Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Cavan of the District of Montana later this afternoon.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Todd Capser, as alleged, managed to mislead a Canadian financial institution into lending him more than $43 million, and tried to mislead other financial institutions into lending him tens of millions of dollars more, by creating mountains of false evidence of his solvency to represent himself as a legitimate business owner.  Capser is now in custody and faces significant time in prison for his alleged crimes.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “Despite the fact that this was a $43 million fraud scheme, the alleged illegal conduct was fairly simple.  Omitting key information and falsifying loan documents are violations of federal law.  To make matters worse, Capser went so far as to claim his daughter was terminally ill in an effort to explain behavior that would have otherwise attracted negative attention.  Capser took a significant risk by conducting himself in this way.  Unfortunately for him, he miscalculated the reward.”

As alleged in the Indictment unsealed today:[1]

From January 2016 through April 2019, CAPSER and CAPSER’s father (“CC-1”) perpetrated a scheme to defraud a financial institution based in Toronto, Canada (“Financial Institution-1”), by inducing it, through false and misleading representations and omissions, to loan approximately $43.3 million to an entity incorporated by CAPSER (“Capser Entity-1”), for the purchase of two chemical and oil tankers (the “Tankers”).

After obtaining the loan from Financial Institution-1 and purchasing the Tankers, CAPSER and CC-1 attempted to induce at least nine other Financial Institutions to loan between $46 million and $52 million each to refinance the original loan.

CAPSER and CC-1 fraudulently induced Financial Institution-1 to make the $43 million loan, and attempted to induce the other Financial Institutions to make the $46 million to $52 million refinancing loans, through, among other things: (a) fraudulently obtaining documents from a company that provides wealth‑management services to private clients (“Trust Company‑1”); (b) altering the Trust Company-1 documents, and forging additional Trust Company-1 documents, to make it appear as though CC-1 held an investment portfolio at Trust Company-1 composed of securities worth tens of millions of dollars, which could serve as collateral for the loans; (c) sending the altered and forged Trust Company-1 documents to certain of the Financial Institutions; (d) creating fake email accounts for employees of Trust Company-1, and sending emails from those accounts to certain of the Financial Institutions to make it appear as though CC-1 held an investment portfolio at Trust Company-1 composed of securities worth tens of millions of dollars; and (e) making false and misleading representations and omissions about the financial assets of CAPSER, CC-1, and their family to certain of the Financial Institutions, including falsely claiming to own a cattle company and ranch.

In addition, in an effort to engender sympathy, deflect questions, and explain suspicious behavior, CAPSER falsely represented to certain of the Financial Institutions that his daughter was terminally ill with cancer.

*                *                *

CAPSER, 47, of Billings, Montana, has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  CAPSER has also been charged with one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by a judge.

The charges in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI.  He also thanked the FBI’s Billings Resident Agency for their assistance with the investigation.

The prosecution of this case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Benjamin Woodside Schrier is in charge of the prosecution.

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated May 8, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-141