Jasper Buck, 59, formerly of Westminster, Maryland and elsewhere including Sanford, Florida and Lake Mary, Florida, pled guilty to mail fraud arising from an investment fraud scheme in which Buck stole more than $1.96 million from clients.
According to his plea agreement, Buck worked for mortgage companies, but held himself out to investors as an experienced investment advisor. Buck admitted that from October 2006 through at least December 2014, he told his victims that he was a representative of Portfolio Financial Group (PFG). Buck told the 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 invest all or a portion of their retirement savings often through loans taken out of the victims IRA or 401(k), or to refinance their home mortgages and use lines of credit, in order to invest the proceeds with Buck through PFG. Buck 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.
To conceal the scheme, Buck issued payments to some victims, using funds received from other victims, to convince them that their investments were earning the expected returns. Buck made telephone calls and sent text messages and emails to victims making false statements regarding purported investments, to lull the victims into believing that their loan principal was safe and that their purported investments were sound.
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, which is the amount Buck is required to forfeit as part of his plea agreement.
Buck and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Buck will be sentenced to 63 months in prison. U.S. District Judge George L. Russell III has scheduled sentencing for October 2, 2015.
The guilty plea 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.