Tarrant County Men Sentenced for Running $2.4 Million Ponzi Scheme
FORT WORTH, TX—Two Tarrant County men were sentenced to lengthy federal prison sentences following their guilty pleas earlier this year to a conspiracy charge stemming from their operation of an investment Ponzi scheme they ran from 2004 through 2014, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Kurtis Keith Lowe, 63, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Robert Allen Blackburn, 49, of Arlington, Texas, were each sentenced on Friday, by U.S. District Judge John McBryde, to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2,373, 462 in restitution, jointly and severally. Each must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on November 13, 2015.
Both Lowe and Blackburn pleaded guilty in July 2015 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
According to documents filed in the case, in 2004, Blackburn, a licensed insurance agent, convinced a victim to invest money in Omni Capital Management Trust (OCMT), an entity created merely as a convenience for Lowe, OCMT’s sole owner. Blackburn knew OCMT was not a functioning company. Lowe deposited the investor’s check into OCMT’s business bank account and gave the proceeds to Blackburn. Lowe and Blackburn repeated this procedure several times.
By 2007, Blackburn was regularly recruiting individuals to invest in OCMT using materially false representations about OCMT. In particular, Blackburn falsely represented that victims’ funds would be invested in an annuity fund, when in fact, he knew the money would not be invested at all.
To entice investors to make multiple investments, Lowe and Blackburn created more bogus companies, including Amwest Capital Management (AMWEST) and National Fidelity Management (NFM). Lowe also opened accounts at an out-of-state mail service, and established separate telephone numbers for each company, to make investors believe the bogus companies were legitimate.
When investors requested account statements or tax forms, Blackburn would advise Lowe how much the investor had deposited, and Lowe would generate forms that falsely showed the investors’ money had been invested and had, in fact, appreciated.
Between January 2007 and April 2014, Blackburn solicited more than $2.4 million from 21 different investors using false material representations. None of the money was invested.
The FBI investigated the case.