A Missouri man has been sentenced to 21 months in prison in a multistate scheme to defraud steel pipe manufacturers.
Bobby Gene Prince, age 42, of Pevely, MO, was sentenced Friday (June 22) by U.S. District Judge John A Jarvey in the scam, which victimized companies in Texas, Iowa, Kentucky and Nevada, said Nicholas A Klinefeldt, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.
|Bobby Gene Prince will serve almost two years in prison for the scheme, which hoodwinked suppliers in three states and a transportation company in a fourth.|
Prince previously pleaded guilty in the case to a one-count indictment charging wire fraud.
In addition to the prison time, Prince was ordered to serve three years’ supervised release, pay $100 special assessment to a crime victims’ fund, and to pay restitution to the victims in an amount to be determined at a future court hearing.
Let’s Make a Deal
Authorities said the case dated to April 2009, when Prince contacted a Texas construction company and lied that he owned a steel pipe manufacturing company but was getting out of the business due to bad health. Prince then offered to sell the contractor $200,000 worth of steel pipe for $75,000, specifying that the money should be wired to a bank account in Las Vegas.
After the contractor agreed, Prince posed as an employee of a steel pipe brokerage company and contracted with steel pipe manufacturers in Iowa and Nevada to ship the pipe—on credit and as a rush job—to the Texas contractor.
To pull off the deal, Prince faxed references and bank information for the bogus broker on its letterhead to the pipe manufacturers.
Within a few days, authorities said, pipe shipments began arriving in Texas, carried by a Kentucky transportation company.
However, the Texas contractor became suspicious when the bills of lading indicated that the pipe originated with a manufacturer in Iowa, not with Prince, contacted the Iowa company. After comparing stories, both realized that Prince was running a swindle and contacted the FBI, which investigated.
Prince was indicted in December 2010, but he remained a fugitive until his arrest in October 2011.