The 24 star is one of several victims of Michael Wayne Carr, a competitive steer-roping promoter and cattle manager, who allegedly bilked investors of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the San Joaquin County, Calif., District Attorney's office contends.
Sutherland was told by a financial advisor that Carr would buy cattle from Mexico and resell them at a huge profit in the U.S. The actor never personally met Carr, who has no prior criminal record. The DA's office says there's no evidence the purchase ever took place. A New Mexico couple who lost $177,000 was also duped with the same story, and a Colorado man lost cattle that was entrusted to Carr, who allegedly sold them, according to prosecutors.
"Mr. Sutherland has been very friendly and helpful with our investigation," Deputy District Attorney Stephen Maier tells PEOPLE. "I'm sure he's happy someone's getting to the bottom of this."
Maier says it's too early to say whether the actor would be called to testify in court.
Carr is expected to be arraigned on 12 felony charges: five counts of grand theft with "great taking enhancements," three counts of forgery, two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses, and one count each of embezzlement and falsifying corporate books.
If found guilty of all charges, Carr could face 18 years in prison.
His arraignment is set for Feb. 8. Carr is reportedly in the process changing attorneys.