A Spokane Valley man has been found guilty of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering for his role in defrauding investors of more than $1.5 million in a scheme involving the sale of smoke alarms.
Ryan M. Jensen, 35, faces up to 20 years in prison on each of 19 counts at his sentencing, scheduled for Oct. 9. A federal jury returned the guilty verdicts against Jensen on Thursday in Spokane.
Similar charges against Jensen’s father, James “Jimmy” Jensen, were earlier dismissed.
Ryan Jensen was president of Innotek Corp., a Spokane Valley business that claimed to develop and market products for the fire alarm industry, including gas alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, smoke alarms, portable gas detectors and wireless, interconnected smoke alarms, according to federal officials.
From 2004 to 2006, he fraudulently brought in more than $1.5 million from investors and lenders in Washington, California and Arizona. Jensen claimed ownership of a patent for wireless smoke alarm technology that he did not own, and falsely indicated that his products had been tested by consumer safety organizations, prosecutors said.
Court records indicate that Jensen tried to hide fraudulent transactions from investors and the company’s accountant by using undisclosed bank accounts.
The conviction followed a joint investigation by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service.
“Investment fraud schemes – of any size – prey on the trust of innocent victims who believe the representations made by their promoters,” Kevin Hanff, the acting IRS special agent in charge of the Pacific Northwest, said in a news release. “As shown in this case, the government will hold the perpetrators of fraudulent schemes accountable and vigorously prosecute them.”