Convicted scammer faces new allegations

Posted April 30, 2010, at 9:15 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A Stockton Springs man who spent more than a year in federal prison for soliciting funds to invest in an international scam was back in U.S. District Court this week facing similar charges.

Todd Denson, 50, has been charged with two counts of wire fraud. He allegedly was asking people for money that he then sent overseas. Denson told people that he needed money to gain access to millions he had in foreign bank accounts, according to court documents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk ordered Friday that he be held without bail pending the resolution of the new charges after finding probable cause for their being filed.

Denson appears to be a victim of a well-known Internet monetary fraud as well as someone who has tried to swindle money from people in Hancock, Waldo and Knox counties since he was released from prison in May 2008, according to court documents.

He was sentenced on June 7, 2007, in federal court in Portland to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to seven counts of mail and wire fraud. Denson admitted to bilking several Cumberland County residents out of nearly $80,000.

Denson’s bail on the original charge was revoked in February 2007 when he continued to solicit funds, according to court documents. He served about 14 months of the 18-month sentence. That time included “good time” earned in federal prison and the four months he was held without bail while awaiting the resolution of his first case.

At his 2007 sentencing, U.S. District Judge George Singal ordered Denson to serve three years of supervised release after completing his prison term and to pay restitution of $58,600 to the victims who requested it. That money has not been repaid, according to testimony presented at Friday’s hearing by Secret Service Agent Martin Conley of Portland. Conley led the investigation that resulted in the charges being filed against Denson four years ago and this week.

Denson, according to the affidavit Conley filed Tuesday in federal court, told at least three victims over the past 10 months that he had millions of dollars in overseas accounts — $10 million in Ghana and $13 million in the Royal Bank of Scotland. The defendant allegedly told the victims that the money had been left to him by a deceased friend but that he needed to pay a $5,000 fee to gain access to the accounts.

He allegedly asked victims for a loan, promising to repay them $9,000 or more in a few days after he had access to the overseas account. Denson made two wire service payments in June for a total of $4,700 to the United Kingdom, according to the affidavit.

Denson’s problems began in 2006 when he fell for a fraudulent Internet scheme out of Ghana, according to previously published reports. The owner of a successful window-washing business in Portland, Denson sent $60,000 to the African nation after being told he could get a $9 million inheritance.

After he ran out of his own money in 2006, Denson used a variety of stories to get additional funds from seven so-called investors and wired the money overseas in hopes of getting the millions promised. In all, he bilked seven people out of nearly $80,000, but only four sought restitution, according to court records.

It was unclear Friday how many people might have been victimized by Denson’s most recent alleged activities.

If convicted on the new charges, Denson faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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