Lamesa, Texas Man Who Ran Fraudulent Investment Scheme Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison Without Parole
Rod Cameron Stringer Ordered to Pay Approximately $7.4 Million in Restitution
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 02, 2009|
LUBBOCK, TX—Rod Cameron Stringer, 43, was sentenced this morning to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $7,458,238 in restitution, following his guilty plea in June to one count of money laundering in relation to an investment fraud scheme he ran, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Stringer, of Lamesa, Texas, was remanded to federal custody after he entered his guilty plea.
It is anticipated that Stringer will also be required to forfeit approximately $1.5 million in funds derived as a result of his scheme. Stringer admitted that the “RCS Hedge Fund” was created for the sole purpose of sheltering property from law enforcement.
Stringer admitted that from at least January 2001, until January 2009, he ran a “Ponzi” investment scheme in which approximately 44 victims invested approximately $13,897,988. Of that amount, approximately $7,023,264 was paid back to some of the victims. Stringer admits defrauding these investors/victims of approximately $6,874,723.
On January 16, 2009, agents with the FBI and Internal Revenue Service - CI (IRS-CI) executed a search warrant on Stringer’s residence and office in Lamesa.
On January 20, 2009, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against Rod Cameron Stringer, in a case styled, Securities and Exchange Commission v. Rod Cameron Stringer, d/b/a RCS Hedge Fund, 5:09CV0009-C, which is still pending in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Texas.
As part of his scheme, Stringer portrayed himself as a “day trader” and Hedge Fund Operator, although he was not a licensed securities broker. He solicited and enticed individuals to invest money with him by making false representations and promises, such as: the return on investors’ money would be approximately 50 percent profit; he was a day trader and had a fool-proof system; the return on investors’ money would be better than a savings account; the accounts were liquid and investors could withdraw their money anytime; and, he had several computers that watched the trend line of stocks automatically and advised him when he should move money in and out of the market.
The two primary accounts for this scheme were the RCS Hedge Fund account at State National Bank of Big Springs in Lamesa, and a joint account, held with his wife at the First United Bank in Lamesa. After an investment was made, Stringer mailed the investors/victims false account statements that showed their investments were earning interest at the rates represented by the defendant.
In operating this “Ponzi” scheme, Stringer fraudulently induced victims to invest based on false representations and promises and then he used some investor money to pay earlier investors to make it appear as if the representations and promises were true. Contrary to the representations and promises Stringer made, he was not a successful “day trader” and he invested only a small fraction of the investor funds he received.
Stringer used most of the funds deposited into the two bank accounts for his own benefit. The Information filed in the case states that Stringer used investors’ funds to purchase residential property, business property, rental property and a vacation home. Some of the monies invested were paid back to early investors with money provided by later investors; these payments were used to entice the investors who received the payments to invest more money into the scheme and to entice new investors.
Stringer admitted that from mid-January 2007, through mid-January 2009, he engaged in monetary transactions, affecting interstate commerce, in criminally derived property of more than $10,000 and derived from mail fraud. In one instance, Stringer made a $2 million wire transfer on September 25, 2008, from State National Bank of Big Spring to Frost National Bank. Additionally, the documents filed in court today include a schedule of an additional 50 wire transfers or cashiers check purchases, each in excess of $10,000, and totaling $4,999,755.95. He admitted that all the purchases and transfers were made with funds obtained as a result of his scheme. Although Stringer ran other businesses, including a bail bond business, a used car business and a tow truck business, none of these businesses were profitable.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS-CI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Richard Baker and Ann C. Roberts of the Lubbock, Texas, U.S. Attorney’s Office.