Richmond Man Pleads Guilty to Investment Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 26, 2013|
RICHMOND, VA—Stephen Maurice Burks, 64, of Richmond, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud in connection with a $1.2 million investment scheme.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck.
Burks was indicted on August 20, 2013, by a federal grand jury. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment when he is sentenced by Senior United States District Court Judge Robert E. Payne on February 20, 2014.
In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, Burks admitted to acting as the chief executive officer of Chelsea Financial Group LLC (CFG), which operated from locations in Maryland and Richmond, Virginia. Burks admitted that from at least as early as January 2008 through January 2013, both individually and through CFG, he offered and sold investments in several different investment schemes. These schemes included, but were not limited to, Forex (foreign currency exchange) trading; stock market investments; oil investments; payday lending franchises; and group homes. Burks admitted that he made material misrepresentations and omissions to investors about his background, including false claims that he was an investment professional, registered investment adviser, and commodities trading advisory. Burks also failed to disclose to investors that he was a convicted felon. Throughout all of the various schemes, Burks obtained at least $1.2 million in investor funds and failed to disclose that he retained at least 25 percent of funds for personal and/or non-investment-related use.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigative Division, with significant assistance from the U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission, Virginia State Corporation Commission, and the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service. Assistant United States Attorney Jessica D. Aber is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.