If the people you rip off are people who are seeking to themselves rip off the federal government, where's the harm?
Don't ask that of Christopher Brian McPherson. He just got five years in a federal prison for seeking the answer to that question.
McPherson plead guilty to a fraud scheme that saw him rake in almost $280,000. His pitch to investors: I'll buy FEMA trailers cheap, renovate them and then sell them back at a huge profit to the feds.
Problem was, there never were any FEMA trailers bought, renovated or sold.
Says the US Attorney's office:
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McPherson has admitted that during the fall of 2006 he took out classified ads in the Houston Chronicle soliciting people to invest in a "real estate deal." When readers contacted McPherson about the deal, he claimed that he was purchasing used FEMA trailers, refurbishing them, and then selling them to the Department of Housing and Urban Development for a significant profit. McPherson entered into contracts with some of the people who responded to his ads. Those contracts stated the investor would be providing McPherson a loan, listed specific trailers with vehicle identification numbers (VINs) that were to be purchased with the money, and provide an amount that McPherson was supposed to repay in a short period of time after the supposed resale of the refurbished trailers. McPherson admitted he made up the VINs used in the contracts, never purchased any trailers, and used the money he obtained for personal expenses.
Gee, we wonder if these "investors" asked a lot of questions about the deal. Sounds perfectly kosher to us.
McPherson is the 35th person sent to prison for Katrina/Rita fraud from the Southern District of Texas.
-- Richard Connelly