People in Michigan might have been offered certificates of title to own mining waste that promised to be rich in precious metals. A 77-year-old man in another state was recently indicted on various white collar crimes related to the sales of mining slag. Prosecutors say, among others, the charges include money laundering and federal fraud involving $7 million.
According to court documents, the defendant’s business sold certificates of title to clients who were told that the company was able, by unique methods, to process copper mining waste and recover valuable precious metals. However, investigators determined that neither of the defendant’s companies owned most of the slag it sold. They also falsely claimed to have a process that was commercially viable for extracting the promised precious metals.
It is further alleged in the federal indictment that the accused business owner falsely claimed that the business operations were endorsed by a specific attorney. This led to charges of aggravated identity theft involving the misuse of an attorney’s name. Prosecutors alleged that the money the defendant received in exchange for the certificates of title was used to pay for the defendant’s personal expenses, sales commissions and the purchase of various luxury items.
Anyone in Michigan who faces federal charges for white collar crimes will soon learn that such charges can have a devastating impact on his or her life. These are circumstances that are best dealt with by an experienced criminal defense attorney. Criminal proceedings in cases involving the federal system are significantly different to proceedings on state level, and although any defendant is entitled to an opportunity to contest formal accusations, federal convictions can lead to lengthy prison sentences. An attorney can seek resolution in the defendant’s best interest.