An Indiana cattle broker pled guilty to one charge of wire fraud in federal court after enacting a plan prosecutors say resembled a Ponzi scheme. Brian D. Jones faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison operated a business buying and selling bull calves from dairy farms in Wisconsin and selling them to cattle ranches in Texas and Missouri, according to court documents.
Jones, 38, of Vevay, IN, has agreed to pay back the 473,000 he took from his victims, who he began soliciting in 2015, promising sizeable returns on the investments, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
However, rather than investing the funds, prosecutors say Jones used the money for his personal benefit such as gambling at local casinos. The indictment also alleges that Jones used the investment funds to pay “returns” back to earlier investors as if the funds had actually generated income through investment in his business. By the end of 2015, the indictment says, Jones had squandered funds from the cattle purchasers and was in debt with his suppliers and purchasers.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, said Jones had fabricated bank documents to show that he had sizable business deposits that would soon be “released’ by the bank.
“He also allegedly sent checks to investors including some in the Southern District of Ohio for investment returns, only to have the checks bounce due to insufficient funds in his account,” Glassman said.