The Cowboy Boot Money Smuggler Pleads Guilty To $19 Million Fraud

Scam Tip Number 48201: Don’t Smuggle Money In Cowboy Boots

It was announced yesterday that Christopher Warren pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in a related $19 million fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Warren was indicted in 2009 after defrauding lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker of over $7 million and fleeing to Beirut, Lebanon on a privately chartered jet. Warren was arrested attempting to reenter the United States under a fraudulently obtained passport with tens of thousands of dollars hidden in his cowboy boots.

Warren’s plea today covered both the $7 million fraud against lender Taylor, Bean and Whitaker, and an additional $12 million in fraudulent loans involving his employment at Loomis Wealth Solutions in Roseville in 2007 and 2008.

He also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in connection with fraudulently obtaining passports in the names of real persons without their approval. Warren used the stolen identities to purchase gold and to flee abroad.

A co-defendant, Scott Cavell, remains a fugitive. The charges against him are only allegations and he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“This is a very significant plea today involving brazen fraud on lenders,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “We will continue our relentless drive to bring to justice those who did so much harm to lenders and households in this district.”

Warren is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Mendez on April 24, 2012. The maximum statutory penalty for a violation of wire fraud is 20 years in jail, a fine of $250,000, or twice the loss caused or gain received, and a three-year period of supervised release. Aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two year sentence consecutive to any other sentence. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables – Source.

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