Former Employee of Deceased Friendswood Financial Advisor Charged With Running Own Ponzi Scheme
|Feb. 7, 2013|
HOUSTON - Brian Anthony Bjork, 43, of Missouri City, has been charged in an one-count Information with running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly a dozen investors of more than $1 million, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Bjork was formerly employed by deceased Friendswood investment advisor Joel David Salinas.
The complaint was filed just moments ago and Bjork will be ordered to report for his initial appearance sometime in the near future.
Bjork was a registered investment advisor employed at companies owned and operated by Salinas, including J. David Financial Group and Select Asset Management. Bjork also served as treasurer of a non-profit organization known as the Houston Athletics Foundation (HAF).
The criminal information alleges that during his employment at those companies, and while serving as treasurer of HAF, Bjork orchestrated an investment fraud scheme whereby he would he would solicit and obtain funds from individuals and entities under the false pretense that he would either invest those funds in Salinas’ pawn shops or use those funds to purchase corporate bonds being offered by Salinas. In truth and in fact, according to the complaint, Bjork kept those funds and used them to support his own lifestyle and to pay prior investors. In order to accomplish this fraud, Bjork established a Bank of America account under the name Brian A. Bjork dba: J David Financial Group, an account for which he was the sole signatory. Bjork then perpetrated his fraud by largely preying upon current and former family members and utilizing his position as the treasurer of HAF to fraudulently obtain funds and convert them for his own use.
Although the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has civilly charged J. David Financial, SAM, Salinas’s Estate, Bjork and others (Case No. 11-CV-2830) with Salinas’ massive bogus bond scam, the criminal investigation alleges Bjork’s culpability for this “scam within a scam” whereby Bjork allegedly defrauded a subset of the J. David Financial investors, including HAF, of nearly $1.5 million.
The investigation leading to the charges in this case was conducted by the United States Secret Service and the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Varnado is prosecuting this case.