A man accused of bilking an asset management firm out of $15 million now faces federal charges of wire fraud in connection with the scheme.
Paul McCown, former chief financial officer for Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, is also being charged with wire fraud in connection with allegations he improperly applied for and received more than $800,000 in federal coronavirus assistance.
Documents filed in U.S. District Court by federal prosecutors on Thursday charge McCown with seven counts of wire fraud, for which he could face up to 140 years in prison and a fine of almost $1.8 million.
McCown is already being sued by Ria R Squared on allegations he falsified financial documents and even posed as a bank official to convince the company to loan him $15 million in May 2021.
Immediately after receiving the loan, McCown transferred most of the money to other people, including relatives, associates and Wyoming Catholic College, which received a $10 million anonymous donation that has since been returned.
According to the federal charges, McCown twice sent emails to Ria R Squared to transmit loan documents to the company and then used wire transfers to take possession of the loan.
McCown is also charged with four counts of wire fraud for submitting electronic applications to the Wyoming Business Council in 2020 for federal funds made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Through the CARES Act, Wyoming received $1.25 billion in May 2020 that was applied to four programs designed to help Wyoming businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the federal charges, McCown submitted false claims that his company, McCown Enterprises, lost money because of the coronavirus. He applied for a total of more than $800,000 in assistance from the programs.
McCown did agree to return all the money given to him by the WBC, the documents said, $841,863.
The documents ask that McCown be forced to forfeit to the United States “any property, real or personal, which constitutes or is derived from proceeds traceable to the offenses.”