Agoura Hills Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Federal Prison for Defrauding Investors in Advertising Ponzi Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 15, 2013|
LOS ANGELES—An Agoura Hills man who used his business to defraud dozens of victims in a multi-million-dollar investment scheme has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison.
Dean P. Gross, 50, was sentenced yesterday afternoon by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who also ordered the defendant to pay restitution of approximately $15.4 million.
The sentencing of Gross was announced today by United States Attorney André Birotte, Jr. and Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Gross, who was charged with operating the investment scheme between 2006 and 2009, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on August 6, 2012. While running the scheme, Gross collected more than $35.8 million from approximately 39 investors.
Gross operated the scheme through his home business, which he called Bridon Entertainment. When recruiting investors, Gross falsely represented to victims that he was a veteran of the advertising industry and, therefore, had significant connections that allowed him to purchase advertising time and space at discounted rates. Gross falsely advised investors that he would then resell the discounted advertising to large, well-known corporations at a substantial profit. Gross told investors that if they invested in Bridon Entertainment, their money would be used to purchase the advertising time and space and that investment returns would be generated by the profitable resale of that advertising.
The investigation revealed that Gross never used investors’ money to buy or sell advertising and that he did not have relationships with the well-known corporations he said would buy the ads.
In classic Ponzi-style fashion, investors were paid with money from new investors, and none of their returns were generated from advertising sales. The investigation indicated that 29 of the investors suffered $15.4 million in losses.
The investigation also revealed that Gross used millions of dollars in investor money to pay for personal expenses, including the construction of a vacation house.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.