Former CEO Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 16, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announced that defendant Scott Haire, 48, a resident of Coral Springs, Florida, pled guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams. Haire pled guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, in United States v. Scott Haire and Douglas Martin, Case No. 12-Cr-60133-Williams(s).
At sentencing, Haire faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment, three years’ supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
This case is part of the Southern District of Florida Securities and Investment Fraud Initiative (the Initiative), first announced in December 2010 and designed to combat securities and investment fraud and protect the interests of the investing public. The Initiative was established to address the increase in securities and investment fraud schemes in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, other participating agencies in the Initiative include the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Southeast Region. Among the goals of the Initiative are alerting the public about the prevalence of these types of schemes, educating the public on how to avoid falling prey to these schemes, and highlighting the law enforcement response to the problem.
The Southern District of Florida ranks second in the nation in securities and investment fraud investigations and prosecutions. Using the strike force model successfully developed in the health care and mortgage fraud areas, the Initiative has yielded similar success. Since its inception in December 2010, the Initiative has resulted in charges against 144 defendants in the Southern District of Florida, resulting in more than $1.76 billion in restitution ordered.
Haire—the former CEO of Wound Management Technologies Inc. and the former CFO and Chairman of VHGI Inc.—was captured on video and audio recordings engaging in securities fraud during an undercover FBI operation. During the recordings, Haire discussed his football career at the University of Kentucky before turning to fraud.
According to court documents, Haire bribed a pension fund fiduciary to induce the fiduciary to invest in Wound Management in violation of the pension fund fiduciary’s obligation to act in the best interest of the pension fund’s beneficiaries. In addition, Haire bribed a stock broker to invest money from his client’s discretionary accounts, in violation of the stock broker’s obligation to act in the best interest of his clients. Haire agreed that he conspired with Douglas Martin, a conspirator who previously pled guilty, to inflate the volume and stock of VHGI, a publicly traded company.
To date, 37 individuals have been convicted as part of the FBI’s undercover operation in this and related cases.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI in this and other cases targeting penny stock fraud in South Florida. Mr. Ferrer would also like to thank the SEC for its assistance in this matter. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys H. Ron Davidson and Jodi L. Anton.