A Rogers businessman whose cancer clinic was raided by the FBI last year pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to three fraud counts, according to prosecutors.
James W. Bolt, 60, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud and one count of money laundering, according to U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge's office. His prison sentence will be determined by a federal judge after fully reviewing factors of the case, Eldridge said in a release.
The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the fraud charges and 10 years in prison for money laundering, Eldridge said.
The charges stem from a scheme in which Bolt drew up fake documents in order to obtain unclaimed property and assets from defunct companies in California, the prosecutor said.
Bolt pleaded not guilty last September in federal court in Fayetteville after being indicted on 12 criminal counts, including wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering, according to court records.
Situs Cancer Research Center in Rogers was raided last summer by the FBI after an affidavit was filed in federal court accusing Bolt of federal criminal charges. Bolt was arrested and placed into Benton County Jail two months later, in August 2013.
Federal agents raided three locations in June associated with Bolt, including his home and Situs Cancer Research Center in Rogers. Authorities at the time said the raids were part of a white-collar crime investigation.
Bolt shortly afterward was implicated in a federal murder investigation by an FBI agent. Bolt was involved in a scheme with capital murder suspect Fred Bremer, 39, to take cars from a dealership run by Jack McCain, 67, and sell them for parts, FBI agent Robert Cessario testified in the detention hearing in September.
On orders from Bolt to intimidate the car dealer and cut him out of the scheme, authorities believe Bremer gunned down McCain in the back in 2011 on Gobbler’s Knob Road in McDonald County, Mo., records show.
Bolt then helped Bremer establish an alibi, the agent testified.
The case was left unsolved for two years. Then in June, Bolt allegedly implicated Bremer in McCain’s shooting death, the same month Bolt’s cancer research facility and three other properties were raided by FBI agents in the fraud investigation. Airplanes belonging to Bolt were also seized by federal agents during the raid, according to the FBI.
Bremer was arrested in August on suspicion of capital murder in connection with McCain’s death. He was later extradited to McDonald County, the scene of the alleged crime, and reportedly admitted to authorities that he killed McCain, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Fort Smith.
Cessario, the FBI agent, also testified that Bolt may have told those close to him he was planning to abscond to Belize with $8,000 in cash if he thought police were close to catching him, authorities said.
An affidavit filed in federal court July 2 states the FBI suspects Bolt of mail and wire fraud, and money laundering. The affidavit was attached to a forfeiture document regarding the FBI seizing property from the center. It was filed by U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Fayetteville Division.
The affidavit asserted Bolt and Situs “submitted false information to Computershares Inc. by mail in order to have Computershares Inc. release unclaimed property to Situs in the form of a check or wire transfer.” The document cites five properties in California.
Bolt used “proceeds of the scheme” to buy a house at 303 Rife St. for $208,394; the clinic at 1222 W. Poplar St. in Rogers for $660,626; and another property at 1204 W. Poplar St. for $99,765, according to the affidavit.
Bolt, who is listed on the center’s website as “principal investigator,” told 5NEWS in June that he is a researcher there.
Bolt said at the time that he was not sure why federal authorities were investigating the clinic, but added the clinic submitted a report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before the raid about a donation to the clinic.
Federal authorities also seized three airplanes registered to the clinic from the Rogers Municipal Airport and one from the Bentonville Municipal Airport, officials said.
At 1222 W. Poplar St., agents were seen removing items from a MobileCare van during the June raids. A web address printed on the side of the van directs viewers to Situs Oncology, a cancer research center at 504 N. 13th St. in Rogers. The Web address is situsoncology.org.
Bolt was convicted of mail fraud in 1982. He was acquitted in a 2006 case that accused him of running a fraudulent scheme aimed at investing money in a new pharmaceutical drug, according to federal court documents.