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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Two Men Charged in Wire Fraud Scheme

EL PASO – A federal grand jury in El Paso returned an indictment today charging two men for their alleged roles in a wire fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Russell Alan Vandenburg, 74, of El Paso and Scott Anthony Stuart, 55, of Las Vegas, held various leadership roles at companies that provided services in the real estate industry, including property management, construction management and property acquisition in the El Paso area and elsewhere in the United States.  Vandenburg and Stuart exercised control over the bank accounts of the companies and the properties managed by the companies. 

From February 2015 through October 2017, Vandenburg and Stuart engaged in an alleged scheme to defraud the partners that held an ownership interest in the properties that the companies managed by misrepresenting how funds obtained from the properties were used and by misappropriating those funds for the personal benefit of Vandenburg and others.  As part of the scheme, Vandenburg and Stuart commingled funds from different properties and used the funds for non-authorized expenses including covering shortfalls and expenses for other properties and for paying Vandenburg’s personal expenses.  They concealed the fraud by making misleading and false statements to company partners and by concealing information from the partners. 

“Messrs. Vandenberg and Stuart are alleged to have violated the trust of individuals who invested in our local community,” stated Jeffrey R. Downey, Special Agent in Charge, FBI El Paso Field Office. “The FBI looks forward to assisting the United States Attorney’s Office in the prosecution of this case.”

Vandenburg and Stuart are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 10 counts of wire fraud. A date for the defendants’ initial court appearances has not been set.  If convicted, Vandenburg and Stuart face up to 20 years in prison on each of the fraud counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey, El Paso Field Office, made the announcement.

The FBI is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mallory Rasmussen and Anna Arreola are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated July 27, 2022