GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (May 2, 2014) – He told long-time friends, business acquaintances, and a bank he’d secured a land deal out-of-state that could turn a profit, but actually kept the money for himself and lost it in risky stocks.
This week, 54-year-old Roger Lee Andrews of Coopersville was convicted of wire fraud after prosecutors proved he’d solicited more than $1 million for a fake land deal in Indiana between 2006 and 2008.
Andrews owned R. Andrews Pallet Company in Marne, Michigan.
Andrews told some his target victims he already owned a property in Indiana, but needed money to fix it up to sell it to the State of Indiana for more than $900,000. Other victims heard a different story, with Andrews telling them he needed money to buy the land.
Prosecutors say Andrews took it one step further, creating fake documents with forged signatures to secure other funding.
Andrews never owned any property in Indiana, there was never a deal, and later admitted to forging the documents. Andrews took the money and wired it to his stock trading account, where he lost it in risky margin trading.
“The truly sad part of this case is that Andrews preyed on long-time friends and business acquaintances,” said U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles Jr. in a press release. “He used those relationships and his victims’ misplaced trust as a means to commit his scheme, and they have suffered tremendously as a result. Unfortunately, this type of fraud is all too common in our district, and we remain committed to prosecuting those who engage in it.”
After the jury returned its verdict, Andrews’ bond was revoked. He’ll remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office until sentencing.