Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty to Operating a Fraudulent Investment Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 27, 2013|
JACKSONVILLE—Acting United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that Anderson Scott Hall, a/k/a Scott Hall (49, Jacksonville), today pleaded guilty to four felony counts of operating a sham investment scheme. Specifically, Hall pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment for each count. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, Hall, a licensed insurance salesman, was the architect of a sham investment scheme, which he operated for more than 10 years between approximately 1996 through late 2011. During this time, Hall defrauded in excess of 50 victims and received more than $4 million from his victim investors. The investors included residents of the greater Jacksonville, Florida area; Columbus, Georgia; and North Carolina. A significant portion of the victim investors were either active or retired Duval County school teachers and administrators who invested their retirement funds, including their DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program) money, with Hall.
During the scheme, Hall was employed by various financial companies as an independent agent. His victim pool included current clients and client referrals. As part of this scheme, Hall incorporated a shell company, Abaco Securities International Ltd. (ASI), in the Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies. Hall is listed as the director of that company, whose only presence in the Turks and Caicos is a post office box.
As reflected in the plea agreement, Hall’s scheme included his solicitation of clients to invest their retirement savings in an investment product, which he described as ASI, promising interest rates sometimes exceeding 12 percent. Hall directed the victim investors to cause their retirement savings, usually held in IRAs and other investment products, to be transferred from legitimate life insurance companies and investment companies to his sham business. Generally, Hall would deposit the clients' funds into one of several bank accounts that he maintained at SunTrust. Occasionally, as in a Ponzi scheme whereby older investors are paid money from the funds taken from newer investors, Hall would make partial payments to victim investors.
A forensic analysis of Hall’s SunTrust accounts established that he failed to invest the victim investors' funds as promised. At times, in an effort to conceal and perpetuate his scheme, Hall created sham account documents falsely reflecting that the investors' funds were invested in a legitimate investment product. These sham account statements were provided to the investors to dispel questions regarding their investments. The accounting analysis also revealed that Hall used the investors' funds to pay for personal expenses, purchase commercial property, and to buy luxury automobiles.
This case was investigated by Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, Bureau of Financial Investigations and the DFS, Division of Insurance Fraud. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mark Devereaux.