Hudsonville Resident Sentenced To Four Years In Prison For Investment Fraud Scheme
Steven J. Hayes Ordered To Pay His Victims $822,961.23 In Restitution
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN —Steven Jack Hayes, 60, of Hudsonville, Michigan, was sentenced today to 48 months in federal prison after being convicted of two felonies in connection with an investment fraud scheme he perpetrated between 2001 and 2015. U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell imposed the sentence and ordered Hayes remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshal to start his sentence. Upon release from prison, Hayes will be supervised by the U.S. Probation office for a period of three years.
Hayes operated a tax return and investment consulting business under the name "Hayes Financial Consulting, Business and Personal Financial Consulting." Hayes admitted that he falsely represented to clients that he would invest their money in retirement accounts and other investments, including at Fidelity Investments. In total, nearly 20 individuals in West Michigan invested their money with Hayes. Hayes also pled guilty to filing a false 2011 federal tax return that allegedly underreported his income that year by at least $158,000. In addition to the $822,961.23 restitution order for the victims of his fraud, Hayes was ordered to pay the U.S. Treasury $90,806 in restitution pertaining to his false tax return conviction.
U.S. Attorney Miles stated, "For 14 years, Hayes took advantage of the trust placed in him by his friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. The victims entrusted Hayes with over $1 million of their money—in some cases, their entire retirement accounts—believing his story of a successful and reasonable investing strategy. He lulled his victims to invest more money, including some of their annual tax refunds, by creating fake account statements to make it appear as though their investments were earning interest. In truth, Hayes never invested a dollar and lived on his victims’ retirement accounts and other assets since 2001. This sentence should send a clear message: If you engage in a scheme to defraud others of their hard-earned money, and avoid paying your taxes in the process, you will be held to account for your crime."
"Honest and law abiding citizens are fed up with the likes of those who use deceit and fraud to line their pockets with other people’s money as well as skirt their tax obligations," said Manny Muriel, IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Field Office. "Mr. Hayes’s actions not only caused negative ramifications to those financially connected to him, but also the honest taxpayer when he committed significant tax fraud violations. Today’s sentencing demonstrates how federal law enforcement will band together to help put an end to the criminal behavior of those who prey on investors for their personal financial gain."
Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this matter with valuable assistance from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher O’Connor prosecuted the case.