LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The self-described “Credit Line Millionaire” is facing 30 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to bank fraud.
Christopher Robert Wise, 34, was accused of obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of credit using false documents and misrepresentations.
Wise pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud conspiracy. He had also been indicted on three counts of making false statements to a financial institution. He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years.
The four-count indictment returned in May detailed Wise’s alleged attempts to defraud Wells Fargo Bank, Union Bank and City National Bank. One of the loan applications he filled out was approved, giving Wise a line of credit worth $175,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“The government takes financial institution fraud very seriously,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward E. Alon said outside court. “We will continue to prosecute those who lie to lenders and conspire to commit bank fraud.”
Prosecutors said Wise maintained a significant online presence, including running a website titled “Credit Line Millionaire.”
Billing himself as a credit guru who could help people, the Denver resident referred customers to co-conspirators who controlled Inland Empire companies and promised to help acquire financing, according to federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Wise also attempted to obtain business lines of credit for himself through loan applications submitted to the victim banks on behalf of one of his companies.
According to the indictment, Wise used a co-conspirator as a “credit partner” to pose as a “personal guarantor” for the loans — in essence, using a “straw borrower” to apply for loans in exchange for giving the credit partner a percentage of the loan proceeds.
Officials said Wise spoke at a seminar where he told the audience he was in the process of obtaining a $1 million line of credit — even though he told the crowd he had bad credit and his business did not qualify for a loan.
U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt scheduled sentencing for Jan. 23.