United Kingdom Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in Two Separate Fraud Conspiracies
Plea Resolves Cases Filed in Texas and the District of Columbia
HOUSTON – Marc T. Duchesne, 53, of the United Kingdom, has pleaded guilty to two federal charges stemming from separate schemes involving financial fraud in Texas and the District of Columbia, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas and Vincent H. Cohen Jr., Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
Duchesne pleaded guilty May 11, 2015, to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the Texas case and one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud in the unrelated case District of Columbia case. Duchesne entered both pleas before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton in the District of Columbia.
In the Texas case, Duchesne and his co-conspirators engaged in a scheme from 2000 to 2005 that involved the selling of fraudulent liability insurance policies to apartment complexes, condominium associations, bars, restaurants and other businesses throughout the United States and Caribbean. One company that purchased the insurance was Shoreline Cruises Inc. which operated a 40-foot tour boat called the Ethan Allen on Lake George, N.Y. The tour boat operator discovered its insurance policy was fictitious after the Ethan Allen sank on Oct. 2, 2005, in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of 20 elderly tourists. The total loss was $2,455,531.
Four others have also been convicted in this scheme. Christopher Purser pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, while Edmund Benton, Malchus Irvin Boncamper and Robert Steve Mills pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money. Purser received a sentence of 188 months, while Boncamper is serving a 97-month-term. Benton and Mills were both ordered to serve 120 months of federal imprisonment.
In the separate and unrelated case in the District of Columbia, Duchesne engaged in a conspiracy from May 2002 through October 2002 to defraud investors by fraudulently creating Nationwide Capital Corporation (publicly traded as NCCN) and then artificially driving up its stock price. Unbeknownst to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or investors, Duchesne and his co-conspirators owned and controlled vast amounts of the stock. They employed tactics such as bid manipulation, false SEC filings and false press releases to effectuate their scheme. The National Association of Securities Dealers estimated losses to investors to be in excess of $2 million.
The plea, which is contingent upon the court’s approval, calls for a prison sentence of 91-97 months. Also, as part of the plea agreement, Duchesne is to pay a total of $4,543,261 ($2,455,531 and $2,087,730 in the Texas and District of Columbia cases, respectively). Judge Walton has set sentencing for July 30, 2015.
The case in Texas was investigated by Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations and the Texas, New York and California Departments of Insurance. During this four-year investigation, the U.S. government also received extensive and valuable assistance from the governments of St. Kitts and Nevis and also St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Investigators also received valuable assistance from the governments of The Bahamas, Nicaragua, The Philippines and Australia. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John Lewis and Belinda Beek prosecuted the case.
The case in the District of Columbia was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the SEC. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mervin A. Bourne Jr. and Lionel André prosecuted that case.