Second Man Charged in $194M Ponzi Scheme
Jason “Bo” Alan Beckman, an associate of local convicted Ponzi schemer Trevor Cook, was charged Monday for scamming nearly 1,000 investors out of $194 million.
Beckman, 42, is the second man to be charged in the fraud scheme. Cook was charged in March 2010 and pleaded guilty in April 2010 to one count of mail fraud and one count of tax evasion for his involvement in the fraud. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison-the maximum allowable sentence-in August.
According to court documents, which were filed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in U.S. District Court in Minnesota, Beckman raised about $47.3 million from about 143 investors through a fraudulent, unregistered offering of investments. Only $8.2 million of the money that was raised was returned to investors.
The complaint alleges that Beckman and his wife Hollie received about $7.8 million of investors' funds, which were used to support their luxury lifestyle.
“They used the funds to pay for million-dollar homes, luxury cars, foreign travel, country-club expenses, a suite at professional hockey games, and other trappings of a high-end lifestyle,” the suit said.
Beckman faces a total of six counts of violating securities and financial adviser acts through the scheme. Hollie Beckman was also charged Monday for securities fraud for receiving ill-gotten funds from the scheme.
A majority of the fraud victims, according to the suit, were advisory clients of Beckman's firm-Oxford Private Client Group. They thought their money was being invested in a foreign currency program and were guaranteed returns ranging from 10.5 percent to 12 percent.
The suit also alleges that Beckman falsely represented the program to clients by telling them that they could withdraw their money at any time, which was not the case. The complaint also indicates that Beckman portrayed himself as a victim of the scheme when it surfaced and when Cook was being charged and sentenced for his role.
In addition to the suit, the government filed separate documents on Monday asking the court to freeze the Beckmans' assets.
Those documents indicate that two of the Beckmans' three homes-located in Plymouth, Florida, and Texas-are up for sale and that an “emergency action” needs to take place to freeze those assets in order to preserve “the remaining proceeds” from the fraud.