Father and Son Plead Guilty to Their Roles in Fraud Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office September 19, 2012|
TAMPA—John Henley Fowler (63, Ft. Myers) pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Yesterday, his son, Jeffrey Robert Fowler (35, Ft. Myers) pleaded guilty to a similar charge. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
According to the plea agreement, from about December 2010 through November 2011, conspirators developed a plan to use false and fraudulent representations to solicit victim-investors to wire funds into bank accounts they controlled for investment in a purported gold futures investment program. The program was supposedly run by an existing New York-based investment firm called Paulson & Co. Inc. To further the fraud scheme, the Fowlers created a Florida corporation—Paulson & Co. Inc. (Paulson-Florida)—leased office space for the corporation, and opened corporate bank accounts, all for the purpose of making Paulson-Florida appear to be legitimate. The Fowlers and their co-conspirators fraudulently represented that Paulson-Florida was a branch office of the real Paulson & Co. Inc. when, in fact, there was no connection between the two entities whatsoever.
The Paulson-Florida bank accounts and other accounts were used to receive more than $4 million in funds from victim-investors, who wanted to invest in the purported gold futures investment program. The Fowlers and their co-conspirators used the funds to perpetuate the fraud scheme and to personally enrich themselves, their family members, and friends.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachelle DesVaux Bedke.