Accused Polson man set to go to trial in September
MISSOULA – A Polson man has until Sept. 10 to reach a plea agreement with federal officials who say he used investors’ money for personal use instead of investing it in his fireworks business as promised. If an agreement is not reached he will go to trial on felony wire fraud and money laundering charges the following week.
If convicted John Louis Cross stands to lose any property he gained as a result of the alleged scheme and also faces up to 30 years in prison, $500,000 in fines, six years supervised released, and a $200 special assessment.
Federal prosecutors allege Cross took investments, but did not put them into his finance businesses 5 Star Financial, Inc., and High Yield Return, Inc., and fireworks business Wholesale Fireworks Stores, Inc.
“Cross promised the investors their money would be secured by real property, promised he would make interest payments at certain specific rates, and promised the loans would be repaid in full within a specific period of time,” the indictment reads. “Cross provided promissory notes and other paperwork to the investors memorializing his promises … Cross failed to repay his investors as promised, despite repeated promises to do so, and failed to remit all of the promised interest payments. Cross also failed to file the documentation necessary to secure the investments, despite his promises that investors would maintain a secured interest in real property as collateral for their investments and loans.”
In one specific instance, on April 8, 2010, prosecutors allege $50,000 was wired from a federal bank in another state to Cross’s account in Polson. Cross allegedly wrote a cashier’s check to himself for $45,000 later that same day.
In a motion for dismissal, Cross’s attorney asked that the charges be dropped because two separate charges resulted from a single incident. It did not address the allegations in the case.