Jasper Buck, 59, formerly of Westminster, Maryland, and Lake Mary, Florida, has been indicted and charged with mail fraud arising from an investment fraud scheme wherein he allegedly misrepresented to investors that their funds would be used for hard money lending.
The indictment was returned on January 21, 2015 and unsealed today upon the arrest of the defendant. An initial appearance is expected to be scheduled in federal court in the Middle District of Florida.
According to the five count indictment, Buck worked for mortgage companies, but held himself out to investors as an experienced investment advisor through Portfolio Financial Group (PFG).
The indictment alleges that from October 2006 through at least December 2014, Buck told his victims that PFG would loan money provided by the victims to borrowers who needed funds quickly or were unable to obtain traditional bank loans and were therefore willing to pay a higher interest rate on the loans. In fact, there were no such borrowers, and Buck used the victims’ money for his own personal use or to further his fraud scheme.
Buck told his victims that there were other owners and employees of PFG. However, bank accounts for PFG listed Buck as a signatory, and PFG’s addresses were listed as either Buck’s personal residence or shipping and packaging stores such as UPS.
Buck convinced some victims to refinance their home mortgages and use lines of credits in order to invest the proceeds with Buck through PFG. Buck is alleged to have promised the victims that they would receive a monthly return on their investments greater than the victims’ monthly loan payments. In addition, he convinced some victims to move their retirement savings into an account with a self-directed IRA custodian for the purpose of then having those funds transferred to him. Rather than investing the money turned over to him, Buck used some of the money on himself, as well as to pay other victims in order to convince those victims that their investments were earning the promised returns.
Beginning in January 2014 when Buck had exhausted all of the victims’ funds in his PFG account and could no longer make any payments to the victims, he falsely represented that: there was no issue with PFG financially; PFG was updating software, or was slowed by new federal regulations, or was being sold to another company and no assets could be released until the sale was complete; victim money was in PFG’s possession, but Buck could not physically access it; or that Buck was pursuing legal action against PFG.
As a result of the scheme, Buck obtained at least $1,961,364 from the victims. The indictment seeks forfeiture of at least this amount.
Buck faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the five counts of mail fraud.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Delaney, who is prosecuting the case.