Man awaiting trial for alleged fraud faces additional charges

Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 10:05pm

An Old Hickory businessman awaiting trial on federal fraud charges turned himself in Wednesday on new charges of theft and writing a worthless check.

Warrants out of the Lakewood Police Department charge Alton S. Minton, 45, with allegedly writing a bad check and charging rent on a property he didn’t own. Minton was booked into a Metro jail and released Wednesday on $2,000 bond.

In January, Minton allegedly wrote a $1,100 check to lease a home at 501 Sandy Cove Pointe in Lakewood. The check bounced on two attempts to cash it before Minton, according to an arrest warrant, told the victim he had a “big dealing going down” and the money would be in the account soon though it never was.

A second warrant claimed that between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2, Minton collected a total of $2,140 from five individuals to rent furnished rooms at the Sandy Cove property, which he allegedly told them he owned. According to the warrant, Minton didn’t have permission to rent the rooms and never paid his lease.

In January 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee indicted Minton on one count of wire fraud for which he could face a maximum 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The indictment claims that from about May 2004 to June 2005, Minton passed himself off as an agent of the legitimate company YachtOne Holdings LLC, which was formed as a limited liability company under Delaware state law with its principal place of business in and around Nashville.

YachtOne Holdings, operated by two individuals identified only as “Person A and Person B” in the indictment, offered clients fractional ownership interests in yachts — something similar to a timeshare.

According to the indictment, Minton’s role in the business was to market the company and find buyers for the yacht interests. Instead, he allegedly solicited individuals to invest in what he called “YachtOne” or “YachtOne Inc.” stock, even though the legitimate company didn’t issue stock and wasn’t setup for investments.

Minton allegedly told would-be “investors” that not only would capital he raised go toward operating expenses and buying more yachts for the business but also the investments would be paid back by a certain date.

YachtOne Holdings never sold any legitimate fractional ownership interests in a yacht, according to court filings.

A trial date on the YachtOne indictment is set for May 24.

In 2002, Minton founded FractionAir Inc., a company set up similarly to YachtOne but with jets, selling fractional ownerships to leaders in business, politics and sports. He was later ousted from the company in 2004 and was accused by the company’s board of selling shares in a plane that FractionAir leased but did not own.

A list of FractionAir owners at one time included former Vice President Al Gore and former Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher.

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Tagged: Lakewood