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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Montana Man Pleads Guilty In Connection With $43 Million Fraud Scheme

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that TODD CAPSER pled guilty this morning before U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken to one count of wire fraud, in connection with a $43 million fraud scheme. 

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Todd Capser purported to be a legitimate businessman and convinced a Canadian financial institution to lend him more than $43 million.  But the loan was based on a mountain of false information from Capser.  Then, to further his fraud, Capser attempted to induce other financial institutions to loan him additional money.  Today, Capser admitted his guilt and now faces significant time in prison for his crimes.”

According to the Indictment and other documents filed in the case, as well as statements made during the plea proceedings:

From January 2016 through April 2019, CAPSER 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 attempted to induce at least nine other Financial Institutions to loan between $46 and $52 million each to refinance the original loan.

CAPSER 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 and his 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, pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.  CAPSER is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Oetken on November 8, 2019.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”).  He also thanked the Billings Resident Agency of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Montana 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.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
19-210
Updated July 2, 2019