A Rogers man has pleaded guilty to fraud and money laundering after misleading people to invest money into a company that he then used for his own personal income, U.S. attorney Conner Eldridge said in a statement Friday.
Allen Wichtendahl, 61, entered a guilty plea Thursday for one count of mail fraud, one count of securities fraud and one count of money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas in Fort Smith.
In July 2009, Wichtendahl solicited people to invest in a company called New Vision Technology and told them that the company sold products in Bulgaria, according to the news release. Wichtendahl said the company planned to build a power plant, sell tractors and establish a cassava processing facility in Nigeria, the release states.
Officials said Wichtendahl sold parts of the company for $3,200 per part, but then increased the price to $40,000 by 2012. He promised investors that they would receive a high return for their investments, but the release states the investors have received nothing.
Witchendahl also did not tell investors that their money would be used for his personal living expenses and created monthly reports that inflated the company's projected revenues. Eldridge said Wichtendahl did not inform investors that he had previously been convicted of two felony fraud convictions while living in Florida.
If convicted, Wichtendahl faces a maximum sentence of 20 years for each fraud count and a maximum sentence of 10 years for money laundering.