U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Virginia
(703) 299-3700
October 23, 2014

Indianapolis Man Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison and Ordered to Pay More Than $10 Million to Victims of His Ponzi Scheme

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Timothy J. Coughlin, 63, of Indianapolis, Indiana, was sentenced today to 90 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for defrauding thousands of investors and impersonating an Internal Revenue Service official while operating a fictitious credit union for the purpose of soliciting online investments. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $10,084,625.56 to more than 3,500 victims.

Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Andrew J. Ceresney, Enforcement Director at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Coughlin pleaded guilty to wire fraud and impersonating a federal official on June 25, 2014. According to court documents, from around 2006 through March 2014, Coughlin operated the Oxford International Credit Union and another online investment vehicle known as the Oxford International Cooperative Union. Investors from many countries paid annual dues to participate in the Oxford entities and made investments through online payment processors. As part of the scheme, Coughlin created a website through which he posted false information to investors’ online accounts indicating that their deposits were earning significant daily returns, which averaged 0.471% each trading day from January 2007 through December 2009 (equivalent to a 356% average annual rate of return). To further the fraud, Coughlin posted a fake certificate stating that each investors’ deposits were insured up to $50,000, and he also made audio recordings in which he falsely claimed that members were earning significant returns on their investments.

By the end of 2009, Coughlin had ceased approving requests for account withdrawals from investors, claiming that taxing authorities in the United States and Canada were freezing Oxford’s assets abroad. In January 2012, Coughlin falsely announced to investors that he had reached an agreement to resolve the tax issues, and he created a fictitious agreement on which he forged the signatures of an actual IRS employee in Washington, DC, and a lawyer based in New York.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, SEC, and TIGTA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Hanly prosecuted the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:14-cr-221.

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