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Sonoma man pleads guilty in federal fraud case

A Sonoma man has pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco said in a statement.

Michael Thomas Hamilton, 49, was charged in November with 22 counts of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering as part of a scheme in which he solicited investors for a book-selling business called Small Leaf through Craigslist and other means.

According to the plea agreement, Hamilton, who also used the alias Thomas Smith, solicited approximately $1.6 million from more than 20 investors in California, Oregon and Massachusetts.

He is currently free on a $75,000 bond, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Hamilton's sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 4. The maximum penalty for each count of wire fraud is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, plus restitution, the statement said.


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