Home San Diego Press Releases 2014 Owner of Florida Stock Lending Firm Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for His Part in $100 Million Fraud Scheme...

Owner of Florida Stock Lending Firm Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for His Part in $100 Million Fraud Scheme

U.S. Attorney’s Office June 23, 2014
  • Southern District of California (619) 557-5610

Jeffrey R. Spanier, former owner of Amerifund Capital Finance, LLC located in Boca Raton, Florida, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez to serve 10 years in federal prison and pay almost $20.7 million in restitution for his role in a $100 million stock loan fraud scheme that bilked victims all over the world.

Spanier was also ordered to forfeit several million dollars in assets that were the proceeds of the fraud, including cash and securities held in brokerage accounts, and a luxury home in Florida. The case was investigated by the FBI.

Spanier was indicted on April 13, 2012, along with Douglas McClain Jr. and James Miceli. All were charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering. On May 31, 2013, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on all counts in the indictment against McClain. Miceli committed suicide shortly before that trial. On December 20, 2013, a separate jury found Spanier guilty on multiple counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud.

According to trial testimony, Spanier, through his entity Amerifund Capital Finance, partnered with McClain, Miceli, and Argyll Equities, and together with his partners fraudulently induced corporate executives to pledge millions of dollars’ worth of stock the executives held in publicly traded companies as collateral for loans by falsely representing that the borrowers’ stock would not be sold unless there was a default on the loan.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Argyll, the purported lender, had no cash to lend and instead survived for years by immediately selling borrowers stock on the day after the stock was pledged as collateral. The proceeds from the sale of the stock were used to fund the loans creating the appearance that Argyll had plenty of cash to lend.

The evidence also showed that Spanier, McClain, and others fraudulently induced the borrowers to make monthly interest payments on their loans by falsely representing that their collateral was safe and would be returned as long as they did not default. At the end of the loan terms, the borrowers paid off their loans. Instead of returning the stock to the borrowers, Spanier and McClain kept the money and provided false excuses about why they could not return their stock.

The evidence further showed that the unauthorized sales of stock held by insiders of publicly traded companies caused the stock price to plummet which defrauded purchasers of these publicly traded securities who purchased stock through public stock exchanges.

During the trial, the government offered testimony from several executives, many of whom had faithfully paid off their loans over a period of years, completely unaware that their stocks had been sold. All testified about the frustration, emotional stress and grief they experienced when they unsuccessfully attempted to recover their stock once the loan balance was paid, and ultimately realized they were the victims of a massive fraud. Victims were located in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, China, England, and Belgium.

The jury rejected defense claims that Spanier was merely a broker who was unaware of the fraud scheme.

U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy praised the efforts of the FBI for its investigation of the case and described today’s sentence as a fitting end to a brazen deception. “Jeffrey Spanier not only stole tens of millions of dollars from his own clients, but he victimized the public market when his actions caused stock prices to plummet. This significant sentence means Spanier’s days driving a Bentley and living in a gated country club community at the expense of others will soon be a distant memory.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge, Daphne Hearn, commented, “Today’s sentencing ensures that Mr. Spanier is being held accountable for his illegal and unscrupulous actions. The FBI is committed to pursuing those who illegally line their pockets at the expense of the public.”

DEFENDANT

  • Jeffrey R. Spanier
  • Age: 49
  • City: Delray Beach, Florida
  • Case Number: 12CR0918BEN

CHARGES

  • Count 1:          Conspiracy (Title 18, United States Code, Section 371):  
  • Counts 2-7      Mail Fraud (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341
  • Counts 8-18    Wire Fraud (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343)
  • Count 19         Securities Fraud (Title 15, United States Code, Sections 78j(b) and 78ff)

INVESTIGATING AGENCY

Federal Bureau of Investigation

*Indictments and complaints are not evidence that the defendant committed the crime charged.  All defendants are presumed innocent until the United States meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.