North Carolina man sentenced to federal prison for investment scam involving impersonation of mayor, professor, government agency

Published 10:40 am Saturday, March 27, 2021

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An Apex man was sentenced March 15 to 75 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $909,763.28 in restitution owed to dozens of victims on charges of wire fraud and aiding and abetting and aggravated identity theft, according to a press release from the Department of Justice, Eastern District of North Carolina.

Acting United States Attorney G. Norman Acker III stated, “This was a case involving a serial con artist who, in the course of evading the repayment of restitution to victims of his prior federal offense, engaged in a new, and more extensive fraud scheme, harming others. I am pleased that the court saw fit to return the defendant to prison to protect the public from the ongoing economic threat he continues to pose to trusting citizens.”

The press release stated that the case showed that defendant Charles Gilbert Murphy was subject to collection efforts by the United States Government arising from a prior federal conviction for wire fraud in June of 1999 in this same district. To avoid his payment obligations, Murphy used his family members to open bank accounts for him in the name of various companies he controlled, referred to in the indictment as the “Murphy Entities.” These entities were Toxic Solutions LLC (“Toxic Solutions”), Biological Marine Remediation LLC (“Bio-Remediation”), Bio Marine Remediation LLC (“Bio-Marine”), Bio Separation Systems, LLC (“Bio-Separation”), On-Site Solutions LLC (“On-Site Solutions”) and On-Site Technologies LLC (“On-Site Technologies”).

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“Murphy used the Murphy Entities to obtain money from individuals and entities under false and fraudulent pretenses. Murphy represented that the Murphy Entities performed environmental cleanup activities, such as water remediation. Murphy purported to offer to various entrepreneurial victims the opportunity to purchase exclusive rights to perform environmental cleanup services in a given geographic area. Murphy also purported to sell the equipment necessary to perform the cleanup services,” stated the release. “In furtherance of the scheme, Murphy frequently presented false documents to the entrepreneurs to make it appear that funds had been allocated for services to be performed in the geographic area where the victims had purchased the exclusive rights. In reality, the documents justifying the exclusive rights purchase were falsified, and Murphy took the money without providing all of the equipment purchased.

“In furtherance of the scheme, Murphy utilized the identities of others to make it appear that his companies were good investments by creating false documents and correspondence in the names of the victims,” the release continued. “Among others, Murphy impersonated a professor, a mayor, and a representative of the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Murphy defrauded dozens of victims in this case. Many of the victims lost down payments they paid to Murphy, trusting that he would deliver on his promises. Unfortunately, others lost their life savings. At sentencing the Government sought and obtained an order of restitution on behalf of these victims, totaling $909,763.28.”

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney William M. Gilmore represented the United States.