Superseding Indictment Returned in Mowen Case Charging Him with Soliciting and Attempting to Murder or Retaliate Against Witnesses in Federal Case
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 18, 2009|
SALT LAKE CITY—Jeffrey Lane Mowen, 47, of Lindon, who was charged in a federal indictment returned in February with three counts of wire fraud in connection with an alleged fraudulent investment scheme, faces new federal charges today.
A superseding indictment returned late Wednesday afternoon charges Mowen, who is in federal custody, with solicitation to commit a crime of violence, tampering with a witness, and retaliating against a witness.
The indictment alleges Mowen, who has been an inmate at the Davis County Jail from about May 21 to the present time, solicited, or endeavored to persuade another inmate at the county jail to engage in conduct pertaining to the attempted murder of four witnesses with the intent of preventing their attendance and testimony at his federal fraud trial. He is charged with one count of solicitation to commit a crime of violence for this alleged conduct.
He faces one count of tampering with a witness for attempting to kill the four witnesses to prevent their attendance at court and their testimony at his trial and one count of attempting to retaliate against the four witnesses for providing information to law enforcement officers relating to the commission or possible commission of a federal crime.
The potential maximum penalty for solicitation to commit a crime of violence is up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $125,000. Tampering with or retaliating against a witness both carry potential penalties of up to 20 years in prison and fines of $250,000 per count. Individuals charged in indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court.
The superseding indictment also includes the three initial counts of wire fraud relating to allegations that Mowen received more than $18 million for investment in one of two programs touted to investors—a foreign currency trading program and a real estate leveraging program. Rather than using the funds for their intended purpose, the indictment alleges Mowen ran a Ponzi scheme with investor funds.
The potential maximum penalty for each count of wire fraud is 20 years and a fine of $250,000.
Contrary to Mowen’s representations to investors that he was investing their money in a foreign currency trading or real estate leveraging program, the indictment alleges he used the funds to purchase more than 200 high-end antique, classic, and modern vehicles, including cars, trucks, trailers, motorcycles, three-wheelers, and other vehicles. Mowen used these vehicles as symbols of his success to investors, according to the indictment. The indictment also alleges Mowen used investor funds to, among other purposes, pay for personal expenses, including payments to himself and his wife, dining expenses, vehicle storage fees, travel, utilities, and credit card expenses.
The indictment alleges individuals invested millions of dollars in Mowen’s investment programs. One investor, T.F., invested more than $18 million of pooled investor funds with Mowen for use in his real estate leveraging program from November 2006 to around June 2007. T.F. also invested approximately $100,000 during October 2006 with Mowen for use in his foreign currency trading program after Mowen promised him a return of 33 percent per month, the indictment charges. Another investor, J.B., invested approximately $550,000 with Mowen from around May 2007 to October 2007 for use in Mowen’s foreign currency trading program.
The indictment alleges that Mowen paid investment returns to investors using old and new investor funds (commonly known as “Ponzi payments”) giving investors the false and misleading impression that such payments and returns were from the investment programs. When the payments to T.F. stopped in November 2007, the indictment alleges Mowen lulled investors through a string of false excuses which continued well into 2008. Ponzi payments to J.B. stopped in May 2008. Other than the Ponzi payments in 2007 and 2008, and vehicles given to some investors, investors lost their entire investment.
Law enforcement authorities are still determining how many victims of Mowen’s alleged Ponzi scheme there may be. Individuals who believe they may be a victim of the conduct charged in the indictment can contact the FBI in Provo.
The case is being investigated by the FBI. The SEC Denver Regional Office also has provided assistance and cooperation.