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New charges surface ahead of Baton Rouge man's fraud sentencing

Whether a Louisiana defendant faces state or federal charges, it's up to prosecutors to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that a crime has been committed. Reams of evidence may be presented in a white collar crime case, but it's up to a jury to decide whether the proof is worthy of a conviction. Allegations are only claims until they have been proven or a defendant pleads guilty.

A 47-year-old Baton Rouge man was freed by a federal court ahead of a scheduled June sentencing on a wire fraud conviction. The businessman recently lost his freedom. Federal marshals said the defendant engaged in fraud in July, even while trying to negotiate a plea agreement on the initial charge.

The accused man pleaded guilty to bilking investors out of $1.4 million. The man reportedly lured investors into putting up money for Louisiana film tax credits the defendant didn't possess. New allegations said three more investors lost $325,000 by believing the investment was real.

The investors lost between $50,000 and $175,000 each, without ever receiving the promised tax credits. Investigators said, in one instance, the defendant may have used another businessman's identity to reassure a buyer that a pay-off was certain. The texts and emails sent to the investor did not come from the businessman.

In a separate matter last summer, the defendant agreed to a civil settlement of $850,000 concerning activities under a former employer. When the defendant failed to satisfy the settlement on time, a court ordered a damage award of $3 million. The full debt remains unpaid, as do others related to the man's work at a hospital.

For the moment, the defendant is set to be sentenced to a single count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. A criminal defense attorney is prepared to help clients cope with legal obstacles whenever they occur, even after a conviction.

Source: The Advocate, "Prosecutor alleges more investors enticed with tax credits" Bill Lodge, Apr. 22, 2014

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