April 12, 2010
FORT WORTH MAN INDICTED FOR MAIL FRAUD ARISING FROM ALLEGED NATIONWIDE SCHEME TO SELL OVER $100 MILLION IN FRAUDULENT SECURITIES
(HOUSTON) – A federal grand jury in Houston has indicted George Douglas Black Sr., 41, of Fort Worth, Texas, for mail fraud arising from an alleged scheme to sell more than $100 million worth of worthless construction bonds for projects across the U.S., United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
The six-count indictment was returned this afternoon. The court is expected to set a date and to send notice to Black to appear for arraignment on the charges in the near future. Black, originally charged by criminal complaint, was arrested on Monday, March 29, 2010. Following a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge John Froeschner, Black was ordered released on bond on March 31, 2010, conditioned upon his discontinuing his bond business and not having any contact with any potential witnesses in the case.
The criminal complaint filed in federal court in Houston on March 25, 2010, alleges Black, not licensed or registered to sell securities, used the United States Mail to sell more than $25 million worth of bonds backed by a Tarrant County property valued in 2008 at $130,700 to numerous victims through his company, Infinity Surety. According to the allegations in the complaint, these bonds were used to insure various multi-million dollar construction projects.
The bonds, which allegedly represented that Black’s Tarrant County property would fully protect the holder in the event of loss, were sold to school districts and defense businesses who did work for the military and other companies across the country including a $1.8 million bond sold to a company in the League City, Texas, area. The bonds were required for any public construction project as an insurance policy that is paid out if the contractors default or can't finish the work properly. The complaint alleges that a number of the construction projects in Louisiana dealt with Hurricane Katrina related repairs. A $19 million bond allegedly sold for repairs to the Beaumont Independent School District was for Hurricane Ike repairs.
Black’s company, the complaint alleges, was being run out of a private mailbox in Saginaw, Texas. The victims paid Black significant fees for these bonds which they believed protected their interests in various construction projects against loss, mailing Black approximately $2.8 million in fees for these bonds from 150 different companies throughout the United States. Today’s indictment alleges more than $100 million in intended loss associated with these fraudulent bonds. Many of the bonds, according the complaint, were sold through Black’s website, Infinitysurety.com.
According to the complaint, in July 2009 Black was enjoined by the state of Texas from selling bonds. Notwithstanding this injunction, Black allegedly sold at least $25 million worth of bonds over a period of a year. Black has allegedly been in the business of selling these bonds since 2006 and his website claimed these bonds were backed by “United States commercial and residential real estate.” The complaint alleges that records obtained by the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) showed this claim was false and that he routinely pledged the same small piece of property to insure multi-million dollar construction projects.
After Black’s arrest, the state of Florida instructed Black to cease and desist selling the allegedly worthless bonds.
Each count of mail fraud carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 upon conviction.
The investigation leading the charges was conducted by the USPIS and the Texas Department of Insurance. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan D. McConnell.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt through due process of law.