And a little more
Michael Vorce may get reduced fraud sentence after testifying against others
By Nate Reens | The Grand Rapids Press
October 23, 2009, 7:43AM
GRAND RAPIDS — Michael Vorce, believed to have bilked more than $20 million from banks in loans for yachts that never existed, may escape a recommended nearly 20 years in prison for testimony against former business associates locally and a man he helped convict of murder in Wisconsin.
Vorce, 32, formerly of Alpine Township, is in line to have his sentence for guilty pleas to multiple felony counts of bank fraud reduced.
Federal prosecutors filed a motion Thursday to depart from a pre-sentence advisory that he be ordered to serve between 188 and 235 months in prison at his sentencing next Thursday.
The basis of the request lies in his testimony on the alleged fraudulent business activities of former partners Ryan Steensma and Stephanie *****ett.
Vorce accuses them of falsifying documents to send to investors, court records show.
Vorce said Steensma, the owner of security firm Redline 22 and a former Kent County sheriff’s deputy, was able to obtain money under activity that appears to violate federal wire fraud regulations, documents show.
Steensma, whose business specializes in security for companies doing work in the Middle East, Africa and other hot spots, earlier admitted to being subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in connection with Vorce’s case.
The government is pursuing that investigation, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim VerHey, court records showed.
It is not publicly known how much Vorce’s punishment could be reduced.
Larry Willey, Vorce’s attorney, contends his client has undergone a transformation while behind bars for the past 14 months.
Vorce, already under investigation by local authorities for bank fraud, was arrested and jailed while trying to steal the identity of a Milwaukee lawyer along with a friend.
“Vorce now is not the same person who committed these offenses,” Willey wrote.
Willey’s arguments also focus on Vorce’s cooperation as a jailhouse informant in the Wisconsin slaying case against Calvin Pirtle, convicted of “a very ugly homicide of a 21-year-old woman.”