A United States Grand Jury in Houston, Texas, indicted Steven Patrick Jones and John Patrick Acord for operating a fraudulent investment scheme from September 2011-September 2013, that raised over $5.5 million dollars from investors who believed they were purchasing shipping containers.
Investors were promised guaranteed returns ranging from 13% to over 16%, depending upon the amount invested. In reality, the 'profits' that were paid out to investors to perpetuate the scheme were actually funded by funds raised from new investors. This form of investment fraud is the classic Ponzi Scheme; distributing a portion of the money raised from new investors to earlier investors to create the impression of an ongoing, legitimate and successful business operation.
Investors were further deceived by being told that the chief financial officer was an individual name John Delano, when in truth, Delano was a fictional name for Acord. They also failed to disclose to investors that:
- Acord had two prior federal fraud related convictions
- Acord had twice been permanently enjoined by the Securities & Exchange Commission
- Jones had a prior federal conviction related to shipping and interstate commerce
- That investor funds were used for the personal living expenses of Jones and Acord
- That Jones and Acord created sham 3rd party leases to create the appearance of a going concern
The Texas State Securities Board had issued an emergency cease and desist order in July 2012 in connection with the fraudulent activity, however Jones and Acord continued to sell investments in the phony business, EcoEnergy Group, Inc. dba Intermodal Wealth, Inc.
This form of fraud has been the most popular method by which unscrupulous promoters have utilized to dupe unsuspecting investors since 1920 when Boston businessman Charles Ponzimade the scheme notorious.
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Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.