Odessa Businessman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Defrauding Family and Friends out of $18 Million
In Midland today, a federal judge sentenced 45-year-old James Clinton Fletcher, owner of now-defunct San Jan, LLC, to 15 years of imprisonment for defrauding investors out of more than $18 million through various fraudulent schemes.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge David Counts ordered that Fletcher pay $18,279,111 in restitution to his victims and $1,177,231 in restitution to the IRS. Judge Counts also ordered that Fletcher be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after his prison term.
On December 22, 2020, Fletcher pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of willful failure to pay employee tax withholdings to the IRS following a multi-year extensive investigation by IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI into Fletcher’s fraudulent schemes.
Fletcher admitted that from March 2015 to January 2018, he schemed to defraud more than two dozen family members, friends and business associates out of more than $18 million. Fletcher used those fraudulently obtained funds to purchase a home in Odessa valued at over $1 million; a vacation home in an upscale central Texas resort location; and expensive vehicles to include a Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz and a GMC Yukon Denali. Fletcher also gambled extensively and took frequent trips to Las Vegas using a private plane. He went on extravagant hunting trips using fraudulently obtained funds.
“Fletcher leveraged his relationships with family, friends and acquaintances to steal their hard-earned money and feed his endless greed,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “The magnitude of the millions in losses was only rivaled by his increased willingness to betray those who placed their trust in him. Working with our law enforcement partners, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to seek justice for victims of financial fraud.”
Fletcher also admitted that for the third quarter in 2016, he failed to report and turn over to the IRS approximately $378,437.54 in employee withholdings.
“Today’s sentencing of James Clinton Fletcher, CEO of San Jan LLC, for both his conspiracy to commit wire fraud and his willful failure to pay over San Jan LLC’s employee withheld payroll taxes is a strong reminder that no matter your position or financial status, white collar financial and tax crimes are always serious offenses,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard Goss of IRS Criminal Investigation’s Houston Field Office. “And not only does employment tax evasion result in the loss of tax revenue to the U.S. government, it cheats the employees who thought their withheld payroll taxes had been paid over to the IRS for their future Social Security and Medicare benefits. IRS Criminal Investigation will vigorously pursue anyone at any level who commits financial crimes, including employment tax fraud, for their own personal gain.”
“This outcome is a result of the FBI and its partners’ commitment to investigating financial crimes and other criminal acts thoroughly and completely,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Britton C. Boyd of the FBI’s El Paso Division.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shane A. Chriesman, Monica Daniels and Fidel Esparza III prosecuted this case.