Jury Convicts Traverse City Man, Jerry M. Stauffer, Of Fraud And Money Laundering In Connection With Foreign Currency Trading Operations
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Jerry M. Stauffer, 66, of Traverse City, Michigan, was convicted of wire fraud and money laundering at the conclusion of a jury trial, U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles announced today.
U.S. Attorney Miles commented that "Stauffer used his position as a respected financial expert in Traverse City to defraud his friends and neighbors, as well as people living around the world. As a result, some people lost their life savings. This kind of crime causes long-lasting harm and will be punished whenever we find it."
During a four-day trial that began on January 26, 2016, the jury heard that Stauffer engaged in a fraudulent investment scheme between 2009 and 2015, using interstate communications to take a total of approximately $1.9 million from more than a dozen victims. He advised his "investors" that he could earn substantial profits for them with invested funds by trading in fluctuations in foreign currencies. In fact, Stauffer never invested the money as promised, but used it to pay his own expenses and make the payments necessary to keep the fraudulent scheme afloat. Two families lost $400,000 each in the scheme. Stauffer continued to persuade his investors that his actions were legitimate even after he was indicted, as a group of investors were persuaded to put up the funds he wanted to hire an attorney. The jury also heard that Stauffer laundered some of the proceeds of his crime through a bank to purchase a boat.
Stauffer now faces up to 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conviction and up to ten years in prison for the money laundering conviction. Sentencing has been scheduled for June 14, 2016 before Chief Judge Robert J. Jonker. Stauffer was permitted to remain on bond pending his sentencing.
"Mr. Stauffer’s appearance of success was masked by a tangled financial web of lies," said Jarod J. Koopman, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation. "Ponzi schemes can thrive for a short period of time based on the fraudulent claims that money is being invested and legitimate returns provided. However, that time has come to an end, and as this verdict shows, Mr. Stauffer will now face his judgment."
The Traverse City office of the FBI and the IRS-Criminal Investigation office investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tim VerHey and Nicole Mazzocco prosecuted it.