The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Grand Rapids said Roger Lee Andrews — who owned R. Andrews Pallet Co. in Marne — solicited more than $1 million from friends, business acquaintances and a bank from 2006-08.
Federal investigators said Andrews told some of the victims that he already owned the property and needed additional capital to fund improvements so he could sell it at a profit. He told others he needed funds to purchase the property.
To further his scheme, Andrews created fake documents with forged signatures to make it appear as though he owned the property and had a contract to sell the property to the State of Indiana for more than $900,000.
In truth, Andrews never owned any property in Indiana, was never even involved in any deals in Indiana and later admitted to forging the documents. Instead of using his victims’ money as promised, he wired almost all of the funds to his stock trading account, where he lost it by engaging in risky margin trading.
“The truly sad part of this case is that Andrews preyed on longtime friends and business acquaintances,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Miles Jr. said. “He used those relationships and his victims’ misplaced trust as a means to commit his scheme, and they have suffered tremendously as a result. Unfortunately, this type of fraud is all too common in our district, and we remain committed to prosecuting those who engage in it.”
After the federal jury returned its verdict Thursday, the court immediately revoked Andrews’ bond and ordered him to remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Office pending his sentencing by U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker.