Collins “Collie” Max Christensen, 53, Sacramento, California, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge John A. Mendez to one count of wire fraud related to a scheme to misappropriate investor funds.
According to court documents, Christensen managed 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 is scheduled to be sentenced on May 3, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. The maximum statutory penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced the guilty plea.
This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Russell L. Carlberg prosecuted the case.
“This case demonstrates this office’s continued emphasis on investigating and prosecuting financial fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner.