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Rogersville business owner indicted for $4M fraud scheme

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A Rogersville business owner was indicated for allegedly defrauding customers to the tune of $4 million.

The 28-count indictment against Michael Dismer, 51, also accuses him of failing to pay federal income and employment taxes, according to a news release from the office of Tim Garrison, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

Dismer has operated at least eight businesses, including the most recently used Worldwide Construction Inc. and Lakeland Marine Builders LLC. Since 1993, his companies have manufactured large boats, barges and tugboats for a global clientele.

Between 2013 and 2018, Dismer allegedly defrauded 22 customers of more than $4 million. Fourteen of the customers received inoperable and unseaworthy vessels, and seven did not get the products they purchased. He allegedly falsely updated customers on the status of their vessels in order to receive payments, according to the release.

Among the victims in the alleged scheme is Igiugig Village, an unincorporated Native American village in Alaska that received a $200,000 federal grant to buy a boat meant to economically benefit the community.

According to the indictment, the village’s tribal leadership entered into a contract with Dismer and his Lakeland Marine Builders business, through which they paid a $96,250 initial deposit for a tugboat. The same day, Dismer allegedly withdrew $70,000 of the deposit and used it to buy a boat construction facility in Stockton that he previously lost in foreclosure proceedings. The village later paid Dismer $77,375, which was allegedly used to pay outstanding real estate taxes on the Stockton facility. The village allegedly received nothing in return for paying Dismer $242,375, according to the release.

The indictment also alleges Dismer failed to file federal income tax returns 2013-16 and evaded the payment of employment taxes 1993-2002 and 2004-07. He allegedly engaged in a scheme called “pyramiding,” in which he ceased operations under business names that had unpaid taxes and switched to new income-producing entities.

Additionally, Dismer is accused of intermingling business and personal withdrawals, as well as conducting inter-account transfers, through at least 32 accounts established at seven banks, according to the release.

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