FORMER KITSAP COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN PRISON FOR $35 MILLION “PONZI” SCHEME
Defendant Defrauded Hundreds of People with Phony Investment Scheme
CHARLES NOLON BUSH, 69, formerly of Port Orchard, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 30 years in prison, three years supervised release and $30,097,659 in restitution. On November 13, 2008, a jury convicted BUSH of twenty-seven counts including Securities Fraud, Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Money Laundering. The jury deliberated one day following a two week jury trial. At sentencing U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said, “This was an incredible enterprise.... He lied to people on a repeated basis.... He was very calculated throughout this enterprise... Throughout all of this the one who got paid first was Nolan Bush.”
According to testimony at trial and records filed in the case, BUSH took millions of dollars in investor money in a fraudulent high-yield scheme between 1998 and 2002. In 1998, BUSH was a resident of Des Moines, Washington, and later Port Orchard, Washington, where he operated various investment entities such as Hulaman Management Services (HMS), Global Dominion Financial Services (GDFS), and Cornerstone Institute. BUSH accepted more than $35 million in investor funds. BUSH promised high yield investments, when in fact only one-third of investor money was placed into any investments. Bush used the remaining investor money, among other things, to fund a lavish lifestyle and pay previous investors in the form of a Ponzi scheme. Victims speaking in court turned to Bush and said "you're a liar, you're a thief, and you're a coward." They described how he had robbed people of their health care and college funds. "I hope the Judge, through the honest efforts of our government puts you away for 300 years."
In order to lend legitimacy to the investment scheme, after July 1999, BUSH conducted business from “View Park Golf Estate,” a mansion on a private nine-hole golf course, and from a luxury suite at Safeco Field, while representing to investors that he personally had taken a vow of poverty. BUSH recruited other individuals, referred to as “financial planners,” to act as his agents in promoting the scheme.
Towards the end of his scheme, BUSH represented that investor money was for Cabo San Quintin, the name given to a destination resort which developers planned to build on a peninsula located on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico. BUSH lied to investors about the safety of the project as an investment.