Founder of A&O Entities Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme
WASHINGTON – Christian M. Allmendinger, 39, of Houston, was convicted by a federal jury today for his role in a $100 million fraud scheme with more than 800 victims across the United States and Canada.
The conviction was announced today by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division.
“Christian Allmendinger stole millions from elderly retirees to buy flashy cars and a multi-million-dollar home,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “This was a national fraud case brought by the Virginia Financial and Securities Fraud Task Force that has real implications to dozens of investors in Richmond, who gave most of their life savings and have seen it all disappear. Mr. Allmendinger has now been held accountable for his crimes, and we will continue to pursue other financial fraudsters who prey on those in Virginia and throughout the country.”
“Christian Allmendinger operated a business that relied on deceit, and he used the profits of his fraudulent scheme to spend lavishly on himself,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “Today a federal jury held him to account. Other would-be criminals should take note.”
On Sept. 7, 2010, a federal grand jury returned an 18-count indictment against Allmendinger and two other principals of A&O Resource Management Ltd. and various related entities that acquired and marketed life settlements to investors. Today, Allmendinger was convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of mail fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, two counts of money laundering, and one count of securities fraud. At sentencing on Aug. 12, 2011, Allmendinger faces up to 20 years in prison on each count except the securities fraud count, on which he faces up to 5 years in prison.
Allmendinger’s co-defendant, Adley H. Abdulwahab, 35, is scheduled for a jury trial beginning July 5, 2011. Evidence at Allmendinger’s trial established that during his involvement with the company, A&O obtained approximately $80 million from approximately 500 investors. The indictment alleges that the A&O fraud scheme as a whole exceeds $100 million and affected more than 800 investors, many of whom were elderly.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Allmendinger was a co-founder and vice president of A&O and was active in the day-to-day management of the companies, as well as in the marketing of A&O life settlement investment products to investors. He and others engaged in a scheme to defraud investors by making misrepresentations about such things as A&O’s prior success, its size and office locations, its number of employees, the risks of its investment offerings, and its safekeeping and use of investor funds. Evidence at trial showed that Allmendinger routinely used investor funds for personal enrichment, including a $2 million home, a Lamborghini Spyder, and a 15-carat diamond ring, among other property.
When state regulators began to scrutinize A&O’s investment products, Allmendinger and his co-conspirators decided to sell A&O in August 2007, which ended Allmendinger’s association with the fraud scheme. The indictment alleges that, through a series of sham sales, co-conspirators, including Abdulwahab and David White, continued the fraud scheme through September 2009.
Five individuals have pleaded guilty in connection with the A&O fraud scheme: White, the former President of A&O; Brent Oncale, former vice president of A&O; Russell E. Mackert, an attorney for A&O; Eric M. Kurz, a wholesaler of A&O investment products; and Tomme Bromseth, an A&O sales agent in the Richmond area.
This continuing investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service, and FBI, with significant assistance from the Texas State Securities Board. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael S. Dry and Jessica Aber Brumberg from the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Albert B. Stieglitz Jr., of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
The investigation has been coordinated by the Virginia Financial and Securities Fraud Task Force, an unprecedented partnership between criminal investigators and civil regulators to investigate and prosecute complex financial fraud cases in the nation and in Virginia. The task force is an investigative arm of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an interagency national task force.
President Obama established the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.