SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – US Attorney News – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Michael J. Edison, on February 13, 2006, on three counts of wire fraud for his alleged role in a scheme where he stole over $2 million from a San Francisco woman by purporting to offer financial services to her. These charges are the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to the indictment and the criminal complaint, Mr. Edison, 61, is alleged to have devised a scheme whereby he entered into an oral agreement with the victim to provide a variety of financial services for her. Once Edison had access to the victim’s confidential financial information he opened a joint bank account for himself and the victim without notifying the victim. Edison thereafter applied for a line of credit with Wells Fargo Bank and a mortgage and second line of credit with Countrywide Mortgage in the victim’s name. Edison used the victim’s San Francisco residence to secure the lines of credit and mortgage. Edison obtained approximately $5.2 million from these entities in the victim’s name. Edison then deposited approximately $2.8 million into the joint account he opened in both of their names and proceeded to withdraw or transfer approximately $2.4 million for his own personal use and without the knowledge or consent of the victim. He used the stolen money on such purchases as his own airplane and to make personal investments. As a result of Edison’s fraud, the victim is embroiled in civil litigation with Countrywide in connection with efforts to foreclose on her San Francisco residence.
The investigation began in March of 2006, when an attorney on the victim’s behalf notified the FBI that Mr. Edison had taken over $2 million of the victim’s money and then disappeared.
Mr. Edison was arrested in a hotel room in Atlanta on February 10, 2006, pursuant to an outstanding arrest warrant, and made his initial appearance before a magistrate judge in Atlanta on February 12, 2006. He is currently in custody in Atlanta and his next scheduled appearance is at 1:30 p.m. ET on February 15, 2006, for a bail hearing before the federal magistrate in Atlanta.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343 is 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Edison must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Jeffrey Finigan is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Rawaty Yim. The prosecution is the result of an 11 month investigation by the FBI.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]