Two Las Vegas Residents Sentenced For Multimillion Dollar Telemarketing Scheme Targeting Small Business Owners
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Two Las Vegas residents were sentenced today to a total of 18 years in federal prison for their involvement in a $14 million dollar telemarketing fraud scheme targeting small business owners, announced U.S. Attorney Dayle Elieson for the District of Nevada, Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI’s Las Vegas Division, and Special Agent in Charge Tara Sullivan for the IRS Criminal Investigation.
Alan W. Rodrigues, 59, was sentenced to 120 months, and Mark L. Bausch, aka Mark Eting, 44, was sentenced to 96 months. Each defendant pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 30 counts of wire fraud, and 6 counts of money laundering. In addition to the prison terms, Bausch and Rodrigues agreed to pay $13,966,329.30 in restitution to victims and to pay between $631,142 and $1,050,955 in a criminal forfeiture money judgment. United States District Judge Kent J. Dawson presided over the hearings.
According to their individual plea agreements, from March 2009 to about October 2010, Bausch, Rodrigues, and their co-conspirators organized and operated Small Business Funding Co., Inc., Company Funds, Inc., Foundation Research, Inc., and Silver State Holding Company, all telemarketing companies. They charged a fee for their services and offered to help small business owners obtain grants from public and private entities.
In order to perpetuate their fraud scheme, the defendants made false statements to victims to make it appear that they were likely to or guaranteed to receive a grant. They hired salespersons to market the services and to provide false information to the customers. In order to convince the customers that their service was legitimate, the defendants instructed their employees to conduct research about funding entities and send letters to customers and funders, knowing that many of the customers would not qualify for the grants. The defendants also solicited customers by conducting seminars throughout the United States. Throughout the entire scheme, the telemarketing companies received numerous complaints from customers, and the defendants facilitated giving false statements to victims in order to prevent or delay them from contacting law enforcement. Bausch and Rodrigues used the proceeds from the scheme to enrich themselves and others and to pay the expenses necessary to continue operating the scheme.
In December 2014, Bausch, Rodrigues, and co-defendants were indicted for their roles in the telemarketing fraud scheme. Several co-defendants have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced for their role in the scheme, including Craig Rudolph who was sentenced to 77 months in prison; Jonas Bowen who was sentenced to 63 months in prison; Lee Panelli who was sentenced to 41 months in prison; and David Bergstrom who was sentenced to 51 months in prison. In a separate case, co-defendant Joseph Marfoglia was sentenced to 125 months in prison.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Daniel R. Schiess and Jared L. Grimmer prosecuted the case.