Henry Lee Stuckey, 41, Las Vegas, Nevada, who operated two debt relief companies in Las Vegas during 2009 and 2010 and defrauded 66 persons out of over $200,000, has been sentenced to just over 11 years in federal prison.
The defendant, who had pleaded guilty in February to one count of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of simple assault, was sentenced on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, by Senior U.S. District Judge Philip M. Pro to 137 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $206,919 in restitution to the victims. Judge Pro denied Stuckey a commonly-applied reduction to his sentence for acceptance of responsibility after determining that Stuckey provided conflicting and false statements concerning the crimes and attempted to minimize his involvement in the offense.
Stuckey owned and operated Pureasset Investment Corporation in 2009 and Reviving American Dreams in 2010. Stuckey told customers that in exchange for an advance fee, the companies could assist them pay down their credit and mortgage debts. The customers were required to pay an advance fee for each debt program they participated in, and were told that they would receive refunds if the company failed to reduce customers’ debt or obtain mortgage relief.
Stuckey paid commissions to customers to refer other individuals to the programs, and in order to continue the fraud and to ensure that new customers enrolled in the program, Stuckey assured victims that their debts were being paid when in fact victims’ fees were used for personal expenses, attorney fees, an unrelated business, payroll, and to pay commissions. Using this fraud scheme, Stuckey received over $200,000 in advance fees from approximately 66 victims who lived in various states, including Nevada.
On Jan. 12, 2011, Stuckey, who was on federal supervised release for a 2004 felony identity theft conviction for which he had served several years in prison, assaulted his federal probation officer inside a conference room at the United States Probation Office in Las Vegas by pushing past him and causing him to strike his head on the conference room door.
Stuckey‘s co-conspirator in the fraud scheme, Marilyn Stewart, 39, Philadelphia, is charged with conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and making a false statement to the FBI and is awaiting trial, currently set to begin on Oct. 15, 2012, before Senior U.S. District Judge Lloyd D. George.
Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada, announced the sentence.
The cases are being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christina M. Brown and Sarah Griswold.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada has been aggressively prosecuting persons who are committing investment and mortgage fraud crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. “Most recently, we have been targeting fraudsters, such as this defendant, who are taking advantage of persons in difficult economic times. Because of the strength of our federal laws pertaining to white collar crime, most of these fraudsters are receiving long prison sentences.”
The announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.