NEW ORLEANS – RYAN P. MULLEN41 years old, resident of Jayess, Mississippi, DUANE A. DUFRENE55 years old, resident of Destrehan, Louisiana, DILLON J. ARCENEAUX31 years old, resident of Marrero, Louisiana, LANCE M. VALLO37 years old, living in Gueydan, Louisiana, GRANT C. MENARD35 years old, resident of Kaplan, Louisiana, and ZEB O. SARTINThe 35-year-old resident of Lafayette, La., was indicted Friday, August 26, 2022, by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, the OHRC reported. American attorney Duane A. Evans.
As stated in the indictment, MULLEN and DUFRENE conspired with ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN to use a number of Louisiana shell companies with no assets to defraud a Georgia-based merchant company. MULLEN and DUFRENE helped establish ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN as owners of existing companies, MULLEN and DUFRENE then created fake supplier accounts for the companies, and MULLENwith the help of another person, created falsified bank documents for the companies. MULLEN then used a pseudonym to impersonate a broker for the companies he helped create.
With the help of another broker, MULLEN provided the victim merchant’s cash advance company with the fake vendor accounts and bank statements in order to obtain funding. The victim’s cash advance company approved the advances and began making wire transfers ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, an/a SARTIN millions of dollars in advances. ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN laundered part of the funds by paying MULLEN and DUFRENE percentages of funds. ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARD, and SARTIN then closed their non-existent businesses before reimbursing the victim merchant’s cash advance company in full, resulting in losses of approximately $6.4 million.
An indictment simply alleges that crimes have been committed. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If he is found guilty, MULLEN, DUFRENE, ARCENEAUX, VALLO, MENARDand SARTIN face a maximum sentence of five years for wire fraud conspiracy and a maximum sentence of twenty years for money laundering conspiracy. Each defendant faces up to three years of supervised release and up to $250,000 in fines for wire fraud. On the money laundering counts, each defendant faces up to three years of supervised release and up to $500,000 in fines. Each chef also carries a mandatory special assessment fee of $100. A notice of forfeiture for fraud filed by the government seeks to confiscate a number of Rolls Royces and Bentleys purchased by MULLEN.
US Attorney Evans praised special agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation for their handling of the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Edward J. Rivera and André Lagarde.
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