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Chartraw pleads guilty to wire fraud

By From page A3 | January 28, 2013

A former El Dorado County man pleaded guilty to a multimillion-dollar wire fraud involving the supposed sale of precious metal-laden bars on Jan. 24.

According to court documents, between Jan. 1, 2007 and Nov. 31, 2011, Daniel Chartraw, 39, defrauded numerous investors, a press release from United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner stated. He falsely reported on investments in mines, mining and refinery equipment, oil commodities, precious metals concentrate and deposit certificates worth millions of dollars.

The plea agreement stated Chartraw stole $1 million by posing as the owner and manager of a company selling “dore” bars, which contain gold and silver. Chartraw would give a tour to investors, limiting their exposure to the true owners of the company in order to avoid detection.

Investors would put $1 million into an escrow account in order to buy the bars. Using a forged letter, Chartraw would get the escrow companies to send the money to accounts he and others controlled.

Investors are estimated to have lost between $2,606,448 to $3,639,448. A companion civil case saw Chartraw’s 2011 Cadillac Escalade seized and sold for $50,500. The proceeds will be given to investors, as their money had bought the car.

Chartraw will be sentenced on May 2 by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison with three years of supervised release once completed and $250,000 in fines. As part of the plea agreement, he will also pay restitution to the victims.

The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael D. Anderson and Kevin Khasigian.

The case against Chartraw was a focal point of Judge Warren “Curt” Stracener’s campaign against opponent Joseph Hoffman, as Hoffman had formerly represented Chartraw. No charges were filed against Hoffman.

Cole Mayer

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