Arizona Man Convicted in Fraudulent Investment Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 28, 2012|
BATON ROUGE—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. announced today that Evers F. Harris was convicted of eight counts of mail fraud for his role in executing a fraudulent investment scheme. Harris, age 40, was convicted after a four-day jury trial.
Evidence presented at trial showed that from August 2003 through January 2006, Harris solicited approximately $500,000 from various investors through the use of false statements, representations, and promises. Specifically, Harris promised investors that their funds were 100 percent guaranteed and insured, that there was no risk, that they would earn 20 to 40 percent interest, and that their funds would be used for investment purposes. The evidence at trial showed that these representations were false and that Harris used the money for his own personal benefit in Las Vegas, Nevada, including spending over $187,000 on department and retail purchases, house rental, dining, hotels, the purchase of two Jaguar automobiles, the purchase of a personal residence, and cash withdrawals. Any money that Harris provided back to investors was money that had come from other investors as a means to give the impression that their money was actually being invested.
Evidence further showed that following Hurricane Katrina, Harris falsely informed his investors that he was closing the investment company due to the support that he was providing to victims of the storm. He stated that the investors were in the process of receiving their funds. Harris provided no such support, had no money to provide back to any of his victims, and actually took money from additional victims in the Gulf Coast area following the storm.
Harris faces a maximum statutory sentence of 160 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $4,000,000.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr. stated, “We continue to be committed to the investigation and prosecution of those who seek to commit fraud against innocent victims in this district. The effective prosecution of such crimes will deter future criminal conduct of others seeking to exploit their fellow citizens and serve to protect the financial well-being of the public.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson stated, “This case should clearly establish that the FBI and its partners will aggressively investigate those engaging in high-yield investment fraud who would even utilize the tragedies from Hurricane Katrina to advance such schemes.”
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rich Bourgeois and Shubhra Shivpuri. The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office, the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, and the Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions.