SAN FRANCISCO – Three East Bay residents were indicted for their respective roles in an alleged conspiracy to commit wire fraud announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Michael T. Batdorf.
On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Kenneth Taylor, of Oakland, Sharon Ringgenberg, of Martinez, and Craig Scott, of Lafayette, with wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy.
According to the indictment, from 2008 until at least 2012, the defendants used two entities, Raigold LLC and Success Bullion USA, to market and sell fraudulent financial instruments including what the defendants referred to as “Proof of Funds Statements” and “Standby Letters of Credit.” The indictment alleges defendants fraudulently represented to their clients that the Proof of Funds Statements and Standby Letters of Credit could be used to collateralize high-value loans, to lease assets from Success Bullion USA, and to obtain lines of credit for, among other things, accessing high-yield private trading platforms.
The indictment further alleges that Taylor and Ringgenberg created fictitious account statements that falsely stated Success Bullion USA managed $500 million on behalf of its clients. Taylor and Ringgenberg also allegedly misrepresented to clients that they transmitted Success Bullion USA’s financial instruments to Europe and elsewhere; specifically, they represented to clients that Taylor owned a separate entity, Centerlink LLC, and the company transmitted the financial instruments using an interbank telecommunication network.
In sum, all three defendants were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; Taylor and Ringgenberg were charged with two counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343; and Taylor was charged with two counts of subscribing to false tax returns (one count for each of the 2009 and 2010 tax years), in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1).
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The maximum penalty for wire fraud conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349, is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum sentence for filing a false tax return, in violation of 26 U.S.C § 7206(1), is 3 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. The defendants have been scheduled to appear for initial appearances on May 4, 2017, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kandis A. Westmore in Oakland.
Assistant United States Attorney Colin Sampson and Department of Justice Tax Division Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein are prosecuting the case. This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investment and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations.