The FBI says nine people from five states have been charged with taking $15 million from investors in a fake coal mining company in Tennessee.
The FBI says the nine have been charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville.
An indictment says Brian C. Rose established an office for New Century Coal in Johnson City and hired the other eight people to solicit investors in the non-existent company.
Prosecutors say more than 160 investors from around the country were targeted.
The people charged are from Tennessee, Florida, South Carolina, Indiana and Kentucky.
Six of those charged, including Rose, have pleaded not guilty. Three others have court dates next week.