DALLAS (CN) – A Plano man pleaded guilty to defrauding hundreds of small business owners in an advance-fee scam. Edward Louis Molz III, 29, took money from 247 people for what he called “aged” corporations, which he claimed would give them access to lines credit. Then he spent the money on himself, federal prosecutors said.
Molz was arrested in September and charged with six counts of mail and wire fraud. He pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of wire fraud.
Molz set up 3rd Street Financial LLC, and under the alias Frank Sullivan held himself out as its chief financial officer. He pushed the company through a website and a loose association of financial brokers, and told his victims that he had established and maintained the “aged” corporations for four to five years and had access to lines of credit of between $250,000 and $400,000. For $3,250, a purchaser could acquire a “Tier 1” corporation with a minimum line of credit of $150,000, he said. For $6,500, they could get a “Tier 2” corporation with a $250,000 minimum line of credit. So the story went.
Molz claimed that once he had money in hand, he could deliver the corporation to a purchaser within 9 to 12 weeks, that each “aged” corporation had additional benefits, including established “business trade lines,” a complete financial and business plan, a Dun & Bradstreet listing and three years of valid tax returns.
He sent his suckers bogus documents, including service agreements, testimonials and letters from financial institutions confirming the lines of credit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in announcing the plea agreement.
From November 2009 through May 2010, 247 people mailed or wired money to Molz, which he used “almost exclusively for his personal benefit, including the acquisition of personal assets and real estate.” And he didn’t even deliver the corporations.
Under the plea agreement, Molz agreed to forfeit money and property, including a 2007 BMW 650, a 2005 Maserati and real estate in Irving.
He faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution at his April 18 sentencing.