Farmington Man Sentenced to 37 Months for Internet Fraud

FAYETTEVILLE, AR. (News release) - Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, announced today that Michael Ray Sanders, 38, of Farmington, Arkansas, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for an internet fraud scheme that took place over a two-year period and defrauded multiple victims of over $265,000.

Sanders was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, directed to pay his victims $190,000 in restitution, and ordered to pay a fine of $25,000. The Honorable Jimm Larry Hendren Senior U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Arkansas, presided over the sentencing hearing in Fayetteville.

U.S. Attorney Eldridge commented, “We are committed to prosecuting those that perpetrate schemes to defraud people out of their hard-earned money. It is a shameful that these victims were scammed out of those funds, but the person responsible has now been held accountable. Our office will continue to vigilantly pursue swindlers like Sanders in order to protect the assets of our local community and the citizens of the Western District of Arkansas.”

According to court records, beginning in 2010 and continuing until 2012, Sanders contacted people over the internet who were looking for certain products, including rare automobiles, airplane engines, outdoor recreation equipment, and drilling industry equipment, and would claim to have such items for sale. Sanders would request a "down payment" be made up front after which he would deliver the product, and after a victim sent the payment to him, he would cut off all contact with the person. In fact, Sanders never possessed any of the products he claimed to have.

On September 30, 2013, Sanders pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, during which he admitted to defrauding nine different victims located in seven states.

This case was investigated by the Prairie Grove Police Department, Washington County Sheriff's Office, and agents from the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant United States Attorney Glen Hines prosecuted the case for the United States.

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