CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCAU) — After pleading guilty in 2020, two Iowa companies learned their fates last week.
Energae, LP, and I-Lenders, LLC, both of Iowa, each pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges in December 2020, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. On Sep. 21, 2022, they were sentenced to pay a total of nearly $3.5 million, $1 million of which will go to victims. The corporations also were required to forfeit 57 million shares of stock in another company and abandon certain tax credits.
Broker Darrell Smith was a corporate officer for both firms. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2018, the release stated. It added that Smith made withdrawals of over $2.4 million from ten accounts without the knowledge or authorization of those clients over the course of six years from 2010 to 2015. In some instances, Smith would send the clients checks from an account held in the name of the companies and on which Smith falsely represented was principle or interest on an investment.
Smith forged client checks in some cases and in other cases used pre-signed, blank authorizations, the release stated. The stolen funds were used for expenses for Permeate Refining, LLC which operated a now-defunct ethanol plant in Hopkinton, Iowa.
The companies were also sentenced to one year of probation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Postal Service Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the United States Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General.