A Farmington man has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for an Internet fraud scheme, according to Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.
The man was identified as Michael Ray Sanders (age 38).
His Internet fraud scheme took place over a two-year period and defrauded multiple victims of over $265,000.
Sanders was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, directed to pay his victims $190,000 in restitution and ordered to pay a fine of $25,000.
U. S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “We are committed to prosecuting those that perpetrate schemes to defraud people out of their hard-earned money. It is a shameful that these victims were scammed out of those funds, but the person responsible has now been held accountable. Our office will continue to vigilantly pursue swindlers like Sanders in order to protect the assets of our local community and the citizens of the Western District of Arkansas.”
Court records stated that Sanders contacted persons over the Internet who were looking for certain products including: rare automobiles, airplane engines, outdoor recreation equipment and drilling industry equipment. He would claim to have such items for sale.
Sanders would then request a “down payment” be made up front, after which, he would deliver a product.
After a victim sent the payment to him, he could cut off all contact with the person.
Sanders never possessed any of the products he claimed to have, according to a news release put out by Eldridge.
“On September 30, 2013, Sanders pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, during which he admitted to defrauding nine different victims located in seven states,” the news release stated.
The case was investigated by the Prairie Grove Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Office and agents from the U.S. Secret Service.