By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
The former chief financial officer of the Wyoming Catholic College defrauded a financial firm out of almost $15 million, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.
In a ruling regarding a lawsuit filed against Paul McCown by Ria R Squared, a financial firm that alleged he defrauded it out of millions in 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Scott W. Skavdahl found that the former CFO was liable for the money he received and then dispersed among other people, including relatives, associates and the Catholic College, which received a $10 million anonymous donation that has since been returned.
The money has never been recovered, though, according to court documents.
“[Ria R Squared] has established its claim of fraud,” the judge wrote.
The company is also entitled to an award of $14.7 million, the amount McCown received from the company last year. 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.
In October, McCown requested to stop proceedings on the lawsuit, pending completion of an FBI investigation against him.
Last week, McCown was charged with wire fraud, in connection with allegations he improperly applied for and received more than $800,000 in federal coronavirus assistance. He could face up to 140 years in prison for the seven charges and a fine of almost $1.8 million.
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, totaling $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.”