New Mexico man sentenced to nearly 22 years in federal prison for fraud, money laundering, and obstruction conspiracies

 

Date: April 19, 2022

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

United States Attorney Dennis R. Holmes announced that John Rick Winer, of New Mexico, convicted for his role in fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice conspiracies, was sentenced on Monday April 18, 2022, by U.S. District Judge Karen E. Schreier.

Winer was sentenced to 262 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, nearly $11 million in restitution, and forfeiture of a residence in Norway, a luxury vehicle, approximately $4 million in silver coins, and a laptop. He was also ordered to pay $1,200 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.

Defendants John Rick Winer, Nathan Peachey, and others were originally indicted by a federal grand jury on November 5, 2019. A Second Superseding Indictment was filed on October 6, 2020. Peachey and Winer proceeded to trial in November 2021, and the jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts against both defendants. Peachey was sentenced on February 14, 2022, to 300 months in federal prison and ordered to pay approximately $11 million in restitution. Winer was originally scheduled for sentencing that same day but failed to appear.

According to evidence presented at trial and court documents, Peachey resided in and operated from the State of Pennsylvania and from a suburb of Oslo, Norway. Peachey aided in soliciting millions of dollars from investors in the United States, and he received funds from others who were involved in the fraud scheme. Funds obtained by and through Peachey were, in part, laundered through and into domestic and international bank accounts. After his receipt of funds, Peachey would transfer or wire funds to his co-conspirators, and he also would use funds on personal expenditures.

Winer resided and operated from the State of New Mexico, among other places. Winer recruited individuals from South Dakota and elsewhere to invest in various projects, and he solicited funds that were obtained through the fraud scheme. After his receipt of funds, Winer would transfer or wire funds to his co-conspirators and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, and he also would use funds on personal expenditures.

As to the scheme to defraud the victims across the country, Peachey and Winer, along with their co-conspirators, informed investors that the monies provided to one or more of the co-conspirators would be used for charitable or humanitarian projects, oftentimes using religion to entice and induce victims into investing money in the scheme. They also made promises that there would be a return on investments. Peachey and Winer informed investors that the monies provided to one or more of the co-conspirators would not be expended on personal expenses. Investor money was not used for charitable or for humanitarian projects, and investors never received a return on investments relating to the monies provided to Peachey, Winer, or their co-conspirators. The purpose of the conspiracy was to enrich the co-conspirators, all of whom amassed nearly $13 million, and then spent the fraud proceeds on a luxury residence located in a suburb of Oslo, Norway, renovation costs on the house, a Mercedes-Benz, nearly $4 million in silver, travel, and personal expenses. This fraud scheme impacted victims from around the United States, including South Dakota, Minnesota, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

While espousing sovereign-citizen and religiously-based ideologies and employing such tactics, Peachey, Winer, and their co-conspirators utilized, independently or jointly, entities to perpetrate the fraud scheme, including, but not limited to: AG Enterprises, L.L.C.; House of Winer; Jacobs Provision Trust; The Joseph Project; Jericho Outreach; Jericho Outreach – Norway; Christian Charity Foundation; and G47 Initiative. These entities were fake and used to receive fraud proceeds and launder money.

Once Peachey and Winer learned about the investigation in South Dakota and elsewhere, they also conspired to obstruct justice. Peachey and Winer conspired to corruptly obstruct, influence, and impede the investigation of the below-listed agencies and various court proceedings.

This case was investigated by the following entities: Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation; Federal Bureau of Investigation; ØKOKRIM, the Norwegian National Authority for Prosecution and Investigation of Economic and Environmental Crime, Oslo, Norway; Oslo, Norway Police Department; Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs; and the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeremy R. Jehangiri and Ann M. Hoffman prosecuted the case.

Winer was immediately returned to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service to begin serving his sentence of imprisonment.