WASHINGTON – Brent Oncale, 36, of Houston, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., to conspiracy charges in connection with his role as a principal of the A&O entities, a group of businesses that acquired and marketed over $100 million of investments in life settlements to more than 800 victims across the United States and Canada, announced U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.
Oncale pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dennis W. Dohnal in the Eastern District of Virginia to a two-count criminal information alleging conspiracy to commit mail fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering involving losses to investors of more than $50 million. At sentencing, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.
According to court documents, Oncale admitted to making material misrepresentations and omissions to investors about A&O. Specifically, he admitted making false statements and omissions about A&O’s safekeeping and use of investor funds and about the risks of A&O’s investment offerings. Oncale also admitted that he and his co-conspirators failed to inform A&O investors that the vast majority of investor money was used for purposes wholly unrelated to purchasing and maintaining portfolios of life settlements.
This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service and FBI, with significant assistance from the Texas State Securities Board. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael S. Dry and Jessica Aber Brumberg from the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Albert B. Stieglitz Jr., of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
The investigation has been coordinated by the Virginia Financial and Securities Fraud Task Force, an unprecedented partnership between criminal investigators and civil regulators to investigate and prosecute complex financial fraud cases in the nation and in Virginia. The task force is an investigative arm of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.