Nearly 90 people were defrauded out of $4.7 million in an investment fraud scheme involving the resale of cattle and it has put a Missouri man in police custody.
Cameron J. Hager, 42, of Clinton, Mo., was charged in a nine-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on March 28, 2018. The indictment was made public on April 2 following Hager’s arrest and appearance in the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City, Mo.
Hager is alleged to have engaged in a fraud scheme where victims would invest in a “cattle fund” where he would purchase cattle and then sell them for a profit. However, Hager never purchased or intended to purchase cattle as the federal indictment alleges. He ran the scheme through a business called 5A Holdings, LLC, which operated from July 17, 2015, to March 28, 2018.
A reported 89 investors were gave money to Hager ranging in investment amounts from $1,000 to $267,000. The total scheme brought in $4.7 million for Hager.
The indictment alleges Hager told investors he would buy cattle from farmers or ranchers who were financially distressed and unable to maintain their herds. Hager was to have a “seasoned veterinarian” examine the cattle and he would feed the animals until there was an optimum time to sell. 5A Holdings was netting returns greater than 20% for cattle purchased from 2015-2017, according to what Hager told investors.
Payments were made to some investors by Hager in an effort to recruit more investors through their referrals. None of the money paid to investors came from cattle sales, it essentially operated as a Ponzi scheme. It is estimated that $3.5 million was misused by Hager.
The majority of money was used by Hager for personal expenses, including: paying his home mortgage, travel expenses, lodging, airfare, payments for religious conferences, numerous Amazon purchases, ATM withdrawals, building supplies, credit card payments, paying taxes and purchasing personal vehicles.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Hager to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $394,074 in an Equity Bank account, his 46.6-acre residential property (currently listed for sale with an asking price of $899,000), a 2013 Ford F-150 pickup truck, a 2006 Toyota 4Runner and two 2017 Winnebago travel trailers.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says, “The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.”
The case is being investigated by the Missouri Secretary of State, Securities Division and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Ketchmark and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Larson. A trial date has yet to be set.