[F]rom August 2014 through November 2018, he falsely held himself out as a successful investor and businessman in the performance beverage and water-bottling industries. Hardat duped his investors by falsely representing that he had advanced educational degrees - including a Ph.D. - and that he maintained relationships with established business figures such as computer entrepreneur Michael Dell and the chief executive officer of PepsiCo.
Hardat also falsely represented that Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal was one of his business partners, and that professional basketball star Stephen Curry would be endorsing one of his company's products, according to court documents. Furthermore, Hardat falsely claimed that PepsiCo and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. owed him more than $100 million as the result of purported business deals he consummated with them, the plea agreement states.
Hardat supported his bogus claims of financial success by showing victims doctored digital images of bank account statements showing balances inflated far beyond any amount Hardat actually had at these financial institutions. One doctored image emailed to a victim purportedly showed a balance of nearly $500 million in one bank account, while another phony image purported to show a bank account balance of nearly $170 million, court papers state.
In reality, Hardat never intended to use his investors' proceeds for the business purposes that he represented, the plea agreement states. Instead he used the funds to pay off his personal debts, purchase luxury cars worth more than $100,000 each, pay rent at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, pay tuition for exclusive private schools for his children, and purchase luxury boxes and tickets for sporting and entertainment events, according to the plea agreement. Hardat also admitted that, in the style of a Ponzi scheme, he made payments to prior victim-investors out of subsequent victim-investors' money.During the course of the scheme, Hardat took in more than $5 million from investors, who have suffered losses of more than $4 million.
[W]oodson induced Fort Sill National Bank to loan her and another person $1,013,902 by making false representations to the bank. In particular, Woodson overstated the value of her interest in assets, including a condominium in Snowmass, Colorado, and a closely held real estate company. She additionally understated her liabilities to other banks by approximately $3 million. Also, according to the information, Woodson defrauded two acquaintances by misappropriating purported investments in Snowmass condominiums. The information seeks more than $7.5 million in criminal forfeiture.
[G]arton served as the trustee for several estates, including the daughter of a Tennessee State Trooper who was killed in the line of duty in 2005. Beginning in 2009, Garton began withdrawing funds under false pretenses from her account and others, without the clients' knowledge. Garton converted the funds into cashier's checks and used the money to enrich his lifestyle, including purchasing luxury items including a Jaguar automobile, a boat and a house.The deceased Trooper's daughter was unaware of the account withdrawals until 2017, when at age 24, she wanted to open a bookstore, only to learn that her account had been depleted. Garton admitted that he stole approximately $1.2 million dollars from this client and a total of more than $1.36 million from her and other clients.In conjunction with the preparation of his 2016 taxes, Garton under reported his income to the IRS, claiming his total income was $95,875, while he actually received at least $367,223, which included funds stolen from clients. Garton failed to report the stolen income from 2009 through 2016 and intended to defraud the IRS of more than $350,000.
The trade in question was not made through Claimant or his firm at the time. It was executed by a different brokerage firm. The customer acknowledged the mistake, apologized for the allegations, withdrew the complaint, and sought no compensation. . . .
[I] 2013, Loflin helped his business partner gain control of Greenway, using a front company to hide his partner's identity. Loflin then created back-dated convertible promissory notes to document debts owed by Greenway that could be repaid with the company's stock. Loflin purchased portions of the notes, converted them into stock and prepared all of the paperwork. Loflin secured false attorney opinion letters in order to obtain stock certificates and deposit them for sale with his brokerage firm. The letters and paperwork contained false and misleading information, meant to give the impression that Loflin was permitted to sell the shares into the open market.The complaint also alleges that in 2015 and 2016, Loflin and his business partner orchestrated a promotional campaign, including blast emails, to tout Greenway shares and pump its stock price and trading volume. This allowed Loflin to dump his Greenway shares during and after that campaign for about $152,000 in trading proceeds.
Between 2011 and 2013, Cheatham learned of the following liens (collectively, the "Reportable Events") entered against him:
- By November 30, 2011, Cheatham received notice of a December 8, 2009, Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") tax lien filed against him in the amount of $399,696;
- By April 30, 2013, Cheatham received notice of a November 9, 2011, tax lien in the amount of $101,982 filed against him by the State of Virginia; and
- By October 1, 2013, Cheatham received notice of an August 3, 2012, tax lien in the amount of $113,410 filed against him by the IRS.1Although Cheatham was required to disclose the Reportable Events via the filing of an amended Form U4 within thirty days of receiving notice of their existence, Cheatham did not report the Virginia tax lien or the 2012 IRS tax lien to Kestra or via an amended Form U4 until April 6, 2016, approximately three years late. Additionally, Cheatham did not disclose the 2009 IRS tax lien to Kestra or via an amended Form U4 until July 27, 2017, approximately five-and-a-half years late.From 2013 to 2017, while completing Kestra's annual compliance questionnaires, Cheatham also falsely stated that he did not have any unsatisfied judgments or liens that were not disclosed on his Form U4. . . .=====Footnote 1: The Virginia tax lien was satisfied in 2017; the 2009 and 2012 IRS tax liens remain outstanding.