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Colin Chisholm sentenced to 48 months in prison for stealing more than $2 million from investors in TV network startup

8/18/2017 9:40:53 AM

SAINT PAUL – Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman announced that Colin Alexander Chisholm, age 65, of Minneapolis has been sentenced to 48 months in prison for stealing more than $2.1 million from victims by convincing them they were investing in a television network when, in fact, he was using the funds for his own personal gain. 

Chisholm had pleaded guilty to mail fraud. He was sentenced by U.S. District Chief Judge John R. Tunheim. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and resulted from an investigation by the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau and the United States Postal Inspection Service, with substantial assistance from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

“Colin Chisholm ripped off people with a long trail of lies about himself and his fraudulent investment,” said Rothman, whose agency investigates fraud. “As a result of Chisholm’s lies, dozens of victims lost the money they had entrusted to him for what they believed was a legitimate investment. Stopping this investment scam and bringing this white-collar criminal to justice demonstrate the strong partnership between the Commerce Fraud Bureau and federal authorities.”

“Postal Inspectors are committed to protecting the U.S. Mail and postal customers from criminal attack,” said Craig Goldberg, Inspector in Charge of the Denver Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, which includes Minnesota. “This sentence reflects the successful teamwork between the Postal Inspection Service and the Minnesota Department of Commerce who worked together to bring justice to the victims in this case and to help restore the public’s trust in the U.S. mail.”


According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, since 2004, Chisholm used The Caribbean Television Network, Inc., (TCN), an entity he formed purportedly to broadcast satellite television throughout the Caribbean, to solicit funds from investors.

Throughout the scheme, Chisholm told investors that TCN was on the verge of securing between $20 million and $100 million in funding to begin broadcasting, and that their investment would be used as interim financing for TCN.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, as part of his scheme to obtain money from potential investors, Chisholm lied to them about the progress and viability of the main funding sources for TCN. 

Chisholm also lied to investors about his personal background, telling some investors that he was the grandson of Hugh J. Chisholm, Jr., and the son of William Chisholm, of the Oxford Paper Company. In falsely claiming this family lineage, Chisholm gave the impression that he came from considerable family wealth. He also claimed to be a Scottish Chieftain of the Clan Chisholm and claimed to have close personal ties to members of the Bush family, specifically to Prescott S. Bush, Jr., the deceased brother of former President George H.W. Bush. 

According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, Chisholm also lied about his professional background, most notably by making the claim to potential investors that he had worked as Vice President for Turner Program Services, that he had a relationship with Ted Turner, and that he participated in the development and launch of CNN and CNN Headline News, including writing the business plan for CNN. 

Over the course of 10 years, Chisholm stole a total of more than $2.1 million from at least 38 investors and used the money to support a lavish lifestyle consistent with the false persona he created. 

Fraud

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