Three individuals were charged in an indictment unsealed yesterday for their roles in a $2.5 million high-yield investment fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina.
Robert Leslie Stencil, 59, of Charlotte, North Carolina; Daniel Thomas Broyles Sr., 59, of Beverly Hills, California; and Kristian Francis Sierp, 45, of Costa Rica, all U.S. citizens, were charged in an indictment returned on Aug. 18, 2016, in the Western District of North Carolina with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, five counts of mail fraud and eight counts of wire fraud. In addition, Stencil and Broyles were charged with two counts of money laundering and Sierp was charged with four counts of international money laundering. Stencil surrendered to authorities this morning and will have his initial court appearance today. Sierp was previously arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on separate charges and has been detained pending trial. A trial date has not been set.
The indictment alleges that since January 2012, Stencil, Broyles and Sierp worked to sell stock in Niyato Industries Inc., a Nevada corporation that Stencil owned and operated from Charlotte. Through various publications and sales pitches, Stencil, Broyles and Sierp allegedly marketed Niyato as a manufacturer of compressed natural gas (CNG) automobiles and a distributor of CNG fuel that had patented technology, valuable contracts and high-profile executives. According to the indictment, Stencil, Broyles and Sierp also sold investors on a promise that Niyato was planning an imminent stock IPO that would reap pre-IPO investors a tenfold return on their investments.
Stencil, Broyles and Sierp are alleged to have known that, in reality, Niyato had no facilities, products, patents or plans for an imminent IPO, but rather was merely a vehicle for inducing investor funds. Broyles and Sierp allegedly directed investors to mail or wire funds to Stencil, who then paid half the funds to Broyles and Sierp and kept the remainder for personal expenses. In addition, Broyles and Sierp are alleged to have used high-pressure sales tactics to encourage investments from their victims, many of whom were elderly. According to the indictment, Sierp operated under a fake name from a telemarketing call center that he owned and operated in Costa Rica.
According to the indictment, Stencil, Broyles, Sierp and their co-conspirators were responsible for causing at least $2.5 million in losses to more than 140 U.S. citizens and businesses.
The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are merely accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation, which was supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Fraud Section Trial Attorneys William Bowne and Gustav Eyler are prosecuting the case.