Richmond Man Sentenced to 115 Months for Defrauding Investors
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 20, 2014|
RICHMOND, VA—Stephen Maurice Burks, 65, of Richmond, Virginia, was sentenced today to 115 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for mail fraud. He also was ordered to pay $1,338,971.52 in restitution to his victims as well as forfeiture.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Gary Barksdale, Inspector in Charge of the Washington Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior United States District Judge Robert E. Payne.
Burks pled guilty on November 20, 2013. According to court documents, Burks was the chief executive officer of Chelsea Financial Group, LLC (CFG), which operated from locations in Maryland and Richmond, Virginia. Burks admitted that from at least as early as January 2008 through January 2013, he offered and sold, both individually and through CFG, investments in several different investment schemes both individually and through CFG. These schemes included, but were not limited to: Forex (foreign currency exchange) trading, stock market investments, oil investments, payday lending franchises, and group homes. Burks admitted that he made material misrepresentations and omissions to investors about his background, including false claims that he was an investment professional, registered investment adviser, and commodities trading advisory. Burks also failed to disclose to investors that he was a convicted felon. Throughout all of the various schemes, Burks obtained at least $1.2 million in investor funds and failed to disclose that he retained at least 25 percent of funds for personal and/or non-investment-related use.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigative Division, with significant assistance from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Department of State-Diplomatic Security Service, and the Virginia State Corporation Commission. Assistant United States Attorney Jessica D. Aber prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.