A Hilton Head Island businessman accused of funneling investors’ money into personal expenses such as house payments, jewelry and gifts from Victoria’s Secret pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony fraud charges.
John Michael McIntyre, 62, pleaded guilty to two counts of breach of trust involving more than $10,000 and was sentenced to 5 years probation, which will end after serving 350 hours of community service in his current home state of Florida. Should McIntyre fail to complete the community service he would face two consecutive sentences of 10 years in prison.
The charges stem from McIntyre’s misuse of funds when he was manager of seven local timber and biofuel companies from July 2007 to December 2012.
Investors accuse McIntyre of misappropriating about $653,000 from the businesses, said Richard Silver, of Daufuskie Island, an investor in five of the seven companies.
Investors in one of the companies, Silver Oak Energy, for example, paid about $145,000 for a tract of land in Clio, S.C., to set up a farm growing giant Miscanthus grass, a renewable energy source.
The case revealed that McIntyre used some of that money for personal expenditures, often hiding his tracks by mislabeling them in company records, investigators said.
Money spent at Victoria’s Secret was entered instead as “Vic’s on the River,” and at Evergreen Pet Lodge as “Evergreen Buffet,” according to court documents.
Other personal purchases — such as jewelry, medical fees and women’s shoes — were labeled to appear as purchases from a company that constructs and manages greenhouses. Expenses attributed to Home Depot actually went to a jeweler and to pay application fees at Vanderbilt and Wake Forest universities, the documents said.
McIntyre also was required to pay $110,193 as restitution to the victims, according to the Attorney General’s office.
In return for the plea, the state agreed to dismiss a third criminal charge against McIntyre for a violation of the Uniform Securities Act.
Prior to the criminal charges, McIntyre also was compelled to pay $540,000 in fines and permanently barred from doing business in South Carolina by an April 2013 cease-and-desist order from the Securities Division of the S.C. Attorney General’s Office.
In the end, investors will be reimbursed for the full amount McIntyre misappropriated, though some still face losses from their investments, Silver said.
Silver made a statement to the court Wednesday on behalf of all the defrauded investors, detailing McIntyre’s actions.
“This man is not a petty criminal,” Silver told The Island Packet on Thursday. “This was a major con-artist who stole from close friends. He’s never shown any remorse and up until yesterday he’s never admitted he’s done anything wrong.”
Silver is among a group of investors that filed a lawsuit against McIntyre in October 2012. Court documents show the suit has since been dismissed because of the criminal charges and mandated restitution already required of McIntyre.
“This ends a process that has been going on for four years,” Silver said. “And we are extremely satisfied with the outcome.”