Scammer Who Re-victimized Unhappy Investors Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud
Accepted Thousands in Payments while Making False Claims He could Get Victims’ Money Back from a Bad Investment
A former Seattle resident who relocated to Laguna Niguel, California in the midst of his fraud scheme, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to mail fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. TROY CLINTON VAN SICKLE, 48, admits that between 2011 and 2014, he fraudulently operated an asset recovery business in order to defraud unhappy investors who previously had lost money they had invested with a Bellevue investment company. U.S. District Judge James L. Robart scheduled sentencing for September 30, 2019.
According to records filed in the case, during May and June 2011, VAN SICKLE represented to the unhappy investors that he had a company, Troy C. Van Sickle Consulting and Collections, and that for a fee he could help them recover their lost funds. VAN SICKLE falsely claimed that he had helped other investors recover large sums, and, in order to win investors’ trust, VAN SICKLE made various promises, including entering into a romantic relationship with one of the investors.
In February of 2012, VAN SICKLE moved to California. After he moved, VAN SICKLE told the investors that if they loaned him $75,000, he would (1) use the money in order to recover their lost investment, and (2) repay the $75,000 in 30 days. In fact, VAN SICKLE planned to use the money for his own purposes, including paying his rent through the end of the year, and did not intend to repay the investors. In July 2013, after one of the investors who loaned VAN SICKLE funds repeatedly sought the return of the money he loaned VAN SICKLE, VAN SICKLE sent the investor an invoice with false charges purporting to explain how VAN SICKLE had used the loaned funds in order to try to recover the investor’s funds.
Mail fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Over the course of the scheme, VAN SICKLE fraudulently took in $75,000. Under the terms of the Plea Agreement, in addition to repaying the investors that $75,000, VAN SICKLE has agreed to repay the investors an additional $175,000 in fees that he received from the investors.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Arlen Storm and Andre Penalver.