IMLAY CITY — The Federal Bureau of Investigations and United States Attorney Office announced that Joseph Winget, an Imlay City man, has been arrested and charged for participating in a Small Business Administration loan fraud scheme that netted more than $1 million.
Investigators alleged that Winget, 70, and his co-defendant, Franklin Ray, fraudulently obtained government guaranteed loans made available during the COVID-19 pandemic on behalf of two Michigan-based trucking companies. Authorities say that Ray “submitted false information and forged documents to the SBA and commercial lenders” to indicate that they engaged in significant trucking activity when the company in fact has minimal revenues and little business activity. Winget, they claim, participated in one of the loan schemes that netted them $1.1 million.
Both men were arrested in early March of this year. Winget is facing multiple criminal counts including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries an additional mandatory consecutive two-year sentence.
The list of charges for Ray is even longer, including those related to a purported Ponzi scheme that reportedly defrauded more than $40 million from hundreds of investors under the company name of CSA Business Solutions LLC. Investors were told their $20,000 investment into the company would allow for the purchase of a truck that “would perform delivery services for a multinational e-commerce company and/or a multinational shipping company, and that the investors would be entitled to 77% of the net income of the trucks,” the U.S. District Attorney’s office stated.
Instead, investors in the truck investment scheme received payments from new investments into the scheme or from other sources, not net income. In total, an estimated 275 investors thought they were purchasing more than 2,000 trucks, amounting to at least $40 million in fraudulent investments.
An online search lists an Imlay City address for CSA Business Solutions, identifying it as a transportation equipment and supplies business that’s been operating for about three years, has 15 employees and an estimated annual revenue of $2.6 million.
Federal officials note that Ray was previously convicted of wire and bank fraud in the Eastern District of Michigan, having been released from prison in 2010.
Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of the schemes described, including a victim entitled to restitution, is asked to contact Wendy Olsen-Clancy, the Victim Witness Coordinator at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, at 866-874-8900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.