KIRKLAND MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SECURITIES FRAUD
Man Defrauded investors in Washington and Alaska of more than $120,000
DONALD B. HOFF, 67, of Kirkland, Washington pleaded guilty January 5, 2006 in U.S. District Court in Seattle to Securities Fraud. HOFF faces up to twenty years in prison and a $5 million fine when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly on March 23, 2006.
According to court records, for about three years beginning in June, 2000, HOFF solicited investments in a purported investment fund called DBH Growth Fund and a limited partnership known as DBH Associates. HOFF made significant misrepresentations about the investments including that the investments would generate a return of 18-26% in just a few months. In fact HOFF used some of the invested funds for his own expenses and to pay off prior investors along the lines of a “Ponzi scheme.” In all investors lost a total of $121,850.
HOFF used a variety of techniques to lull his investors while perpetuating his scheme. In some instances HOFF forged signatures on documents including that of an investor who was deceased. HOFF wrote numerous checks to investors as a “return on investment” but many of the checks bounced. In some instances HOFF included an unconditional “Personal Guaranty” to repay the invested funds without telling investors his personal financial status would make that impossible. HOFF represented that he was being assisted in his investments by “help of local and former Microsoft people.” When investors started to ask for their money back, HOFF sent emails that appeared to be written by assistants stating that HOFF was unavailable because he was traveling or had health problems. To some HOFF promised even higher returns if they would wait for their money to be repaid.
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney James M. Lord and Special Assistant United States Attorney Robert Kondrat.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.