Former Ozark Man Sentenced for $1.1 Million Retirement Investment Scheme
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that a former Ozark, Mo., man has been sentenced in federal court for a $1.1 million investment fraud scheme that targeted the retirement savings of senior citizens.
Steven Edward Gwin, 68, formerly of Ozark, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dean Whipple on Friday, June 21, 2013 to nine years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Gwin to pay $1,173,267 in restitution to his victims.
On Aug. 20, 2012 Gwin pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering. Gwin, who spent time in Guatemala and used several aliases and multiple Social Security account numbers, was apprehended in Arizona in April 2012 and has been in federal custody since his arrest.
Gwin admitted that he was engaged in a scheme to defraud investors from Aug. 17, 2005, to March 14, 2007. Gwin solicited and obtained funds from individuals for investment in various retirement ventures. Gwin conducted seminars for senior citizens in both Missouri and Arkansas to promote these investment programs. As a result, many of the investors Gwin solicited were elderly.
Gwin represented to the individual investors that he would invest their retirement funds in secure, interest-earning investments. Gwin directed individual investors to establish Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) through Sterling Trust Company, a non-bank trust company in Waco, Texas, which provides custodial services on self-directed IRAs. After investors funded their IRA accounts, Gwin transferred the funds to purchase unsecured notes issued by First Nevada Marketing, Inc., a Missouri corporation operated by Gwin.
Gwin spent a portion of the funds on personal items and left investors with losses on their investments.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall D. Eggert. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and IRS-Criminal Investigation.