A former El Dorado County man has pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with a multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme.
Daniel Chartraw, 39, entered the plea today in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. He is to be sentenced May 2 by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.
Between Jan. 1, 2007, and Nov. 30, 2011, according to court documents, Chartraw defrauded numerous investors by falsely representing investments in mines, mining and refinery equipment, oil commodities, precious metals concentrate, and multimillion-dollar certificates of deposit.
According to the plea agreement, Chartraw stole $1 million by fraudulently posing as an owner and manager of a company selling "dore" bars, which he claimed contained precious metals. Chartraw arranged for an investor to tour the company but limited the investor's interaction with the company's true owners, preventing discovery of the scheme. When the investor placed $1 million in an escrow account for purchase of the dore bars, Chartraw used a forged letter to get the escrow company to send the money to accounts that he and others controlled.
Investors lost an estimated total of $2,606,448 to $3,639,448 through Chartraw's schemes, according to the plea agreement.
In a companion civil forfeiture action, the U.S. Attorney's Office and FBI seized Chartraw's 2011 Escalade and sold it for $50,500. The proceeds from the sale are being returned to the investors whose money was used to purchase the vehicle, according to the news release.
Chartraw had a primary residence in an El Dorado Hills mansion until 2010, when he moved to Monterey County. Subsequently, he was arrested on the Central Coast, then disappeared until he was arrested by Mexican authorities who deported him and turned him over to U.S. authorities last April.