Allen Wichtendahl of Rogers has been sentenced to 22 years in prison for mail fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay his victims more than $1 million in restitution. The sentence was handed down Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Brooks of the Western District of Arkansas.
“This case shows that we will work day in and day out to pursue swindlers who steal money from the people of Northwest Arkansas and our state,” Conner Eldridge, United States Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, said in a statement. “Over 300 individuals sent money to this Defendant regularly, believing that it was for a legitimate investment. Instead, the Defendant stole that money and used it to support his lavish lifestyle. Such action is shameful. I appreciate the hard work by all involved that has resulted in holding this Defendant accountable for his criminal conduct.”
His scheme began in Florida during the mid-1990s and continued when he moved to Northwest Arkansas in June 2009. Wichtendahl met Diana Stewart in Northwest Arkansas, and in July 2009, Stewart began helping Wichtendahl in his scheme to defraud investors.
Wichtendahl coaxed investors by representing that New Vision Technology sold products in Bulgaria and planned to build a power plant, sell tractors, and establish a cassava processing facility in Nigeria, according the Thursday’s statement from Eldridge’s office. Wichtendahl also established a misleading website and represented that he had made a $12 million capital investment in the company.
From July 2009 to September 2012, Wichtendahl and Stewart collected more than $1 million from investors. The majority of this money was used to pay for Wichtendahl and Stewart’s personal expenses and to maintain the appearance of a legitimate business enterprise. Investors received nothing in return for their money.
As a result of various activities during the commission of their scheme, Wichtendahl was charged with three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud, four counts of securities fraud, four counts of selling an unregistered security, and two counts of money laundering.
Stewart was charged with aiding and abetting all 16 counts and will face the same penalties. She has not been issued a sentenced.