Alabaster man pleads guilty to $2.8 million in fraud

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

A 34-year-old Alabaster man is scheduled to be sentenced on May 29 after he pleaded guilty in federal court on Feb. 18 to charges related to the fraudulent taking of more than $2.8 million in investment funds.

Linton

Linton

Christopher Shawn Linton pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering in front of U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins. He also pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud in connection with the submission of a fraudulent commercial loan application for $908,650 to Iberia Bank.

As part of a plea agreement, Linton must pay $2.5 million to the investors he defrauded, and must pay restitution to Iberia Bank in an amount to be determined at his May 29 sentencing.

“This Commission is proud to be able to combine our efforts and resources with those of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Alabama, and the FBI, to achieve a just and strong conviction against Linton,” Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg wrote in a press release. “Hopefully, this verdict will provide some relief to victims involved in this case who were defrauded out of their hard-earned dollars.”

The maximum penalty for wire fraud and for mail fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the maximum penalty for money laundering is 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine and the maximum penalty for securities fraud is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for bank fraud is 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

In 2007, Linton became an officer, partner and part owner Integrity Capital Inc., by purchasing stock in the company. Its business was to make advance payments to lawyers who had submitted payment vouchers for work performed for the state of Alabama.

In 2009, Linton formed Integrity Capital LLC. Between 2009 and 2011,12 individuals invested more than $2.8 million in Integrity Capital LLC.

After receiving the investor funds, Linton wrote personal checks to himself and by using the funds for non-investment purposes. including the purchase of his house, construction projects at the residence, private jet flights, vacations, recreational vehicles, furniture, luxury items, Auburn football tickets and a donation to the Heisman Trophy Trust.