Alpharetta man charged with money laundering

Promised music contracts for victims

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ALPHARETTA, GA. – A former Alpharetta resident is accused of defrauding investors in his music company out of more than $2 million.

Michael Steven Banuelos, 41, also known as “Ferrari Mike,” operated under various companies, such as M&T Marketing and the Ferrari Mike Music Group.

According to the indictment, Banuelos claimed he promoted and marketed various musicians, including high-profile artists. Between July 2008 and April 2011, Banuelos falsely claimed to victims that he could arrange — and in fact had arranged — lucrative business deals for aspiring musicians.

Banuelos allegedly convinced his victims to invest substantial amounts of money, and he promised high rates of return on those investments once the entertainment contracts came to fruition. Instead of using the more than $2 million he received from investors to secure these purported deals, prosecutors say Banuelos used most of the funds on personal expenses, including alimony, luxury cars, private jets, a country club membership and expensive clothing and jewelry.

A San Francisco jury indicted him July 12 for wire fraud and money laundering resulting from his operation. Banuelos was later arrested in July in Chicago. He recently moved there after having lived in and around Atlanta for many years, including Johns Creek and Alpharetta between 2002 and 2010 in the Thornberry, Country Club of the South and Citadella neighborhoods.

The maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. The maximum penalty for money laundering is 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.