A California man was extradited from Mexico on March 8 and pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering charges for two high-yield investment fraud schemes.
According to court documents, Daniel Thomas Broyles Sr., aka Dan Thomas, aka Daniel Cruz Torrez, 64, of Malibu, participated in a high-yield investment fraud scheme involving a sham company named Niyato Industries Inc. Broyles admitted to conspiring with Niyato’s CEO, Robert Leslie Stencil, 65, of Charlotte, North Carolina, and others to defraud Niyato investors. Broyles admitted that, together with Stencil and others, he falsely portrayed Niyato as a business engaged in electric vehicle manufacturing and converting vehicles to run on compressed natural gas. In reality, Broyles knew, or intentionally avoided learning, that Niyato was merely a sham company that lacked any operational facilities or proprietary technology, and virtually all investor funds were being disbursed among the co-conspirators and not used to promote Niyato’s business. In June 2016, after Broyles learned that federal law enforcement agents were investigating Niyato, he relocated to Mexico. Broyles admitted that, when he learned in August 2016 that he had been indicted, he moved to a new address in Mexico and began using the alias “Daniel Cruz Torrez” to hide from federal law enforcement agents and to obstruct the federal government’s prosecution.
In addition, according to court documents, Broyles separately pleaded guilty for his role in a second high-yield investment fraud involving EarthWater Limited. Broyles admitted to conspiring with EarthWater’s CEO, Cengiz Jan Comu, 61, of Dallas, Texas, and others to sell EarthWater stock. Broyles also admitted that he and others made numerous false and misleading representations, including that EarthWater used the money raised from victim investors to develop and operate the company’s business. In truth, Broyles, Comu, and their co-conspirators had agreed to use the invested victim funds largely for their personal benefit.
Broyles pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, and one count of money laundering in connection with the Niyato scam. Broyles also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud in connection with the EarthWater scheme. He is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date. Broyles faces up to 10 years in prison for the money laundering count, up to 20 years in prison for the mail fraud count, and up to 30 years in prison for each of the conspiracy counts. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Seven other defendants have previously been convicted in connection with the Niyato scam, including Stencil, who was convicted following a three-week jury trial and sentenced to 135 months in prison.
Eight other defendants have pleaded guilty in connection with the EarthWater fraud, including Comu, who is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 7. Three other defendants are awaiting trial in the EarthWater case on charges set forth in a superseding indictment filed on Nov. 6, 2019, in the Northern District of Texas. The trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 3.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Dena J. King for the Western District of North Carolina; U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas; Inspector in Charge Tommy Coke of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Atlanta Division; and Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigations Group made the announcement.
The Government of Mexico, including the Fiscalia General de la Republica (FGR), provided significant assistance in the extradition of Broyles to the United States. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided substantial assistance in securing the arrest and extradition of Broyles.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is investigating this case. The U.S. Marshals Service transported Broyles from Mexico to the United States.
Trial Attorney Christopher Fenton of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting both cases. Trial Attorney Theodore Kneller of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Walters of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas are prosecuting the case involving EarthWater.