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November 10, 2014

Real Estate Developer Sentenced to 121 Months in Prison in $50 Million Securities Fraud Scheme

WASHINGTON—A commercial real estate developer and mortgage broker was sentenced to serve 121 months in prison today for his role in a $50 million securities fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California and Special Agent in Charge Douglas G. Price of the FBI’s Phoenix Division made the announcement. U.S. District Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo of the Southern District of California imposed the sentence.

Bradley Holcom, 57, of Canby, Oregon, previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection with the sale of approximately $50 million worth of promissory notes to more than 150 investors located throughout the United States.

Holcom admitted that he solicited investors to provide funds for the development of raw land for commercial and residential purposes through an investment program he called the Trust Deed Investment Program. Holcom falsely told investors who purchased notes through the program that they would receive a lien on a specific piece of property, and that the lien would be in first position. Holcom admitted, however, that he never provided investors with a lien, and instead conveyed a lesser interest that did not allow investors to directly foreclose on the property to protect their investment. In addition, he admitted that while promising investors that their purported lien would be in first position, he knew the properties were already encumbered by first position liens. Holcom also admitted that he sold the properties that were supposedly serving as the security for the promissory notes without informing investors. Despite his declining financial condition in 2008 and 2009, Holcom continued to solicit investors by misrepresenting the manner in which he would use their investments. As a result of the scheme, Holcom admitted that his conduct caused approximately $50 million in losses to investors.

In addition to the prison sentence, Holcom was ordered to pay restitution to his victims, with the final amount to be determined at a subsequent hearing.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Phoenix Division—Yuma Resident Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Henry P. Van Dyck and Deputy Chief Daniel Braun of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Pletcher of the Southern District of California. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also provided substantial assistance.

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