Feds file embezzlement complaint against Wise | AspenTimes.com

Feds file embezzlement complaint against Wise

Tim Mutrie

Aspenite Michael R. Wise, who admitted to embezzling some $6 million from investors in a short-term loan company, has been summoned to appear in U.S. District Court in Denver next week.

Wise, the former president and CEO of Cornerstone Private Capital, LLC, is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate on Wednesday, Feb. 10, to respond to a criminal complaint filed against him by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday.

The summons was served to Wise at his Starwood residence by FBI special agent Kenneth Jackson and Aspen Police Department investigator Beth Ufkes yesterday morning. It comes more than four months after he admitted to misappropriating about $6 million entrusted to him by investors and lenders.

The nine-page complaint, completed by special agent Jackson, details Wise’s alleged misdeeds during a three-year long scheme.

“The only [crimes] that will be dealt with in court are specified in the complaint,” said John Kundts, supervisory special agent with the Denver FBI office. “The entirety of the complaint is within the four corners of the document.”

In effect, the summons asks Wise to appear before the U.S. District Court Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., as opposed to having him arrested and bringing him before the magistrate, according to Kundts.

Next week’s proceeding is “basically an initial appearance,” Kundts explained, “but what will happen, I don’t know. He could plead guilty, not guilty, ask for a continuance; there’s no telling.

“If he does make an appearance, there are options that will come out of the hearing,” Kundts continued. “There are choices he could make, choices the judge could make, there are many variables. This is basically step one of the judicial process.”

In summary, the complaint states that between about May 30, 1995 and about Sept. 24, 1998, Wise in 12 cases manipulated clients and their investments for his own benefit.

According to the complaint, Wise caused some Cornerstone-generated loans to be “overfunded” or “over-subscribed.” That is, reads the complaint, “he solicited and received from investors more money than was needed to make loans. He then converted the excess funds to his own use.”

Wise declined to comment on the case Thursday evening.

Assistant U.S. District attorney Thomas O’Rourke is the lead prosecutor in the case.

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