Investment Scams and Scammers

Investment and Retirement Scams and Scammers

Read about these investment and retirement frauds and the scammers behind them, caught by the FBI.

Are you a victim of an investment, retirement, Roth IRA or 401k scammers?  Check the names below and read the full reports from the FBI to learn about these investment and financial scammers.  Learn how to avoid being scammed in the future by seeing how the scammers operate!

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has a new telephone hotline:

FBI Investment Fraud Hotline

to receive complaints from the public regarding Investment fraud matters. The FBI considers Investment fraud to be a significant and growing crime problem which often affects unknowing consumers, and which has a direct impact upon the overall economic health of the United States. The collapse of the subprime Investment market, as well as the recent economic downturn, has been met with a corresponding increase in fraud and schemes connected to Investments and related transactions. The establishment of this hotline will aid the FBI and the community by providing a direct line of alert should Investment fraud be suspected.

  1. 04/20/09 - PROMOTER OF HIGH-YIELD INVESTMENT SCHEME SENTENCED TO FEDERAL PRISON - On April 8, 2009, Dustin Michael Thompson, 30, and Sean Paul McLaughlin, 29, were indicted on four counts of Wire Fraud and one count of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud as a result of their involvement in a cash back mortgage fraud scheme.  Thompson was arrested on March 13, 2009 in Las Vegas on a criminal complaint and is detained pending trial. McLaughlin received a summons to appear in federal court on the charges. The case against the pair is based on an investigation which alleges that from October 19, 2005, through June 5, 2007, they conspired to commit mortgage fraud in the Phoenix area. Thompson and McLaughlin submitted mortgage loan applications on behalf of buyers, that included friends and family members, containing false information. Following the funding of the loans, Thompson and McLaughlin received cash back that they used for personal expenses and  to perpetuate the scheme. Most of the homes purchased during the conspiracy have foreclosed.

  2. GEORGIA ATTORNEY PLEADS GUILTY TO OVER $28 MILLION INVESTMENT FRAUD SCHEME - 04/20/09 - ATLANTA, GA-ROBERT P. COPELAND, 48, of Marietta, Georgia, pleaded guilty today in federal district court to committing a five-year long investment scam that defrauded more than 125 victims of more than $28 million. According to United States Attorney Nahmias, the Criminal Information and other information presented in court: COPELAND, a Marietta-based real estate and elder law attorney, operated a fraudulent investment scam, commonly known as a "Ponzi" scheme, from at least 2004 through early 2009.  He solicited individuals directly, through seminars he participated in, and through financial planners to whom he paid commissions in exchange for referrals of investment clients.  COPELAND represented that he would use an investor's money in lucrative real estate financing and/or development activities, such as by funding a mortgage or bridge loan to a real estate purchaser who needed financing.  Typically, COPELAND would promise returns as high as 15% every 6 to 12 months, and would furnish the investor a note and security deed that would purport to document the investor's secured interest in a particular piece of real estate.  Based on these representations, COPELAND raised more than $40 million since 2004 from hundreds of investors nationwide.  Some of these investments constituted retirement funds. 

  3. FORMER INVESTMENT BROKER PLEADS GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING CLIENTS, INCLUDING ELDERLY ALZHEIMER'S PATIENT - 03/25/09 - Atlanta, GA-FREDERICK BARTON, 48, of Atlanta, Georgia, pleaded guilty today in federal district court to committing wire fraud. "Among other frauds, this securities professional defrauded a 90-year old client suffering from Alzheimer's disease of nearly her entire life savings," said United States Attorney David E. Nahmias. According to United States Attorney Nahmias and the information presented in court: BARTON, a registered broker and investment manager, defrauded several clients and investors of at least $2 million dollars, including almost the entire life savings of an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer's disease. From at least 1995 through 2002, BARTON was a manager at an Atlanta branch of a national brokerage firm. After he was terminated in 2002, he began his own investment advisory firms, "Barton Asset Management, LLC" and "Twinspan Capital, LLC," both based in Atlanta. On numerous occasions from at least 2001 through 2007, BARTON fraudulently diverted to himself client funds that he was entrusted with investing.


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