Collins â€œCollieâ€ Max Christensen, 53, Sacramento, California, was sentenced to five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for wire fraud related to his misappropriation of investor funds that were intended for real estate development.
According to court documents, Christensen managed several companies, such as Equus 11 Inc., that were used for multipurpose land development projects located in California, Mississippi, and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. From 2006 through 2008, Christensen raised more than $2.3 million from 14 investors for these projects. Christensen misappropriated approximately $985,994 of the $2.3 million, spending the money on unrelated business and personal expenses. Christensen also failed to disclose to investors the extent of financial difficulties his projects were facing.
Christensen was ordered to begin serving his prison sentence on December 5, 2011. By law, the defendant will be required to serve at least 85% of the prison time imposed.
A restitution hearing, at which the judge will determine how much Christensen should be ordered to pay the victims in restitution, is scheduled for January 10, 2012.
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the sentence by United States District Judge John A. Mendez
â€œMr. Christensen misappropriated his investorsâ€™ funds and then lied to them,â€ said U.S. Attorney Wagner. â€œMany of his victims suffered significant financial harm, losing retirement accounts and homes that had been refinanced in order to extract equity to invest with Christensen. Investment fraud schemes often result in financial devastation for victims, which is one reason this office will continue to emphasize the investigation and prosecution of such cases.â€
This case was the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Russell L. Carlberg prosecuted the case.