SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is asking for the public’s assistance regarding the alleged investment fraud investigation involving Michael Steven Banuelos.
If you have information related to this case, please contact FBI San Francisco’s tip line at 415-553-7400 or e-mail us at San.Francisco@ic.fbi.gov.
In an announcement made by the United States Attorney Office for the Northern District of California on July 26, federal authorities arrested Michael Steven Banuelos after a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted him for wire fraud and money laundering resulting from his operation of an alleged investment scheme through which he defrauded investors out of more than $2 million.
According to the Indictment, Banuelos, 41, falsely claimed to victims that he could arrange – and in fact had arranged – lucrative business deals for aspiring musicians. Banuelos allegedly convinced his victims to invest substantial amounts of money, and he promised high rates of return on those investments once the purported entertainment contracts came to fruition. Instead of using the more than $2 million he received from investors to secure these purported deals, however, Banuelos allegedly used most of the funds on personal expenses, including alimony, luxury cars, private jets, a country club membership, and expensive clothing and jewelry.
Banuelos was arrested in Chicago and is in custody. He recently relocated there after having lived in and around Atlanta for many years.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, is 20 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine. The maximum statutory penalty for the money laundering count, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957, is 10 years in prison plus a $250,000 fine. Any sentence following conviction, however, would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.