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October 6, 11

NEWS / Allen Park Man Sentenced for Defrauding Investors

Barry Sparks, 53, of Allen Park, Michigan, was sentenced today for federal fraud offenses, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. In March 2011, Sparks pled guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by Erick Martinez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena.

United States District Court Judge Denise Page Hood sentenced Barry Sparks to eight years’ imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition to the prison sentence, Sparks was ordered to pay over $1.3 million in restitution and a special assessment of $200.

According to court records, during 2006 through 2009, Barry Sparks made false representations to his nephew, Stephen Sparks about certain investment opportunities. Based on those false representations, Stephen Sparks solicited over $1 million from family, friends and fellow church members as investors. Grounded upon Barry Sparks promises, Stephen Sparks told these investors that his business, Global Points, could purchase a warehouse full of Chinese electronic equipment and sell it in the United States at a substantial profit, returning over five times the amount invested. Stephen Sparks also represented that Global Point was positioned for a second deal to acquire an assortment of CD and DVD players that had been seized in Chicago, Illinois, and were being sold for the payment of back taxes. Again relying on Barry Sparks’ representations, Stephen Sparks indicated that there would be a quick turn around and the profit would be twice the original investment.

Court records reveal that when neither of the deals closed, Barry Sparks provided Stephen Sparks with fraudulent and false excuses for the failure of the deals to close, knowing that he had spent the investors’ monies on gambling and for other purposes. In turn, Stephen Sparks continued to pass along the fraudulent and false excuses to the investors. He also continued to solicit additional funds, claiming that the closings were imminent, and he knowingly failed to inform the investors that he gave most of their money to his uncle, Barry Sparks, who had past criminal convictions for fraud.

On September 29, 2011, Judge Denise Page Hood sentenced Stephen Sparks to 24 months’ imprisonment and ordered him to pay over $1.3 million in joint and several restitution.

“Financial fraud schemes may be complex, but at the end of the day, these schemes are just a fancy way to steal money, and the people doing it are criminals.” U.S. Attorney McQuade said. “They should be treated as criminals.”

“This sentence should send a clear message; schemes designed to defraud innocent investors are violations of Federal law and the consequences of such schemes can and will result in jail time.” said Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Erick Martinez.

The case was investigated by special agents of the IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ross I. MacKenzie.


Tags: court records, criminal investigation, court record, form t,


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