Commercial Developer Admits Taking Construction Funds for Personal Use

Allison Tussey —  March 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

Jonathan Lee Oliver, 41, Missoula, Montana, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy to Wire Fraud, Money Laundering, and Structuring.

Oliver’s pleas could result in a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years. There is no parole in the federal system.

In an Offer of Proof filed with the Court, during the fall of 2010, Oliver, often using the name Jon Walker, began soliciting payments from several victims for the construction of steel buildings, primarily in eastern Montana and North and South Dakota. He rented office and warehouse space in Missoula in October 2010. He entered into contracts with the victims, received millions of dollars in advance payments, and completed only one building.

Rather than build the structures, Oliver used a substantial amount of the victims’ money to buy personal assets, including a house, a truck, an RV, snowmobiles, a jet-ski, an ATV, and a diamond ring for his fiancé. On more than occasion, Oliver directed his employees to tell victims that a certain phase of the construction of their building was completed in order to induce the victim to send Oliver another installment payment, when in fact the phase had not been completed and Oliver’s business lacked the materials necessary to complete the project because so many of the funds had been spent by Oliver on personal items, including those referenced above.

Oliver’s wire fraud conviction involves the wire transfer of $69,498 from one victim to Oliver on August 26, 2011. That victim later wrote Oliver a check for $40,000 and wired an additional $23,350, but never received a completed building. The money laundering conviction relates to Oliver’s purchase of a brand-new car on April 12, 2011, for $33,950 – a 2011 Subaru Tribeca Limited – using money obtained from victims as a result of the wire fraud scheme. And the structuring conviction is represented by Oliver’s withdrawal of $9,950 in cash from his Wells Fargo Bank account on May 20, 2011, which was designed to avoid the Bank’s currency transaction reporting requirements.

The United States Attorney’s Office announced the guilty plea.

This case was investigated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Racicot is prosecuting the matter.

Allison Tussey

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