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Press Release

Four Men Sentenced for $18M Global Investment Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

Four men were sentenced last week for participating in an eight-year investment fraud and money laundering scheme that defrauded over a dozen victims around the world out of more than $18 million.

John C. Nock, 55, of Fayetteville, Arkansas, founder of The Brittingham Group, was sentenced on March 14 to 20 years and 10 months in prison; Brian Brittsan, 67, of Boise, Idaho, was sentenced on March 14 to 10 years in prison; Kevin Griffith, 68, of Orem, Utah, was sentenced on March 15 to 12 years and six months in prison; and Alexander Ituma, 57, of Lehi, Utah, was sentenced on March 15 to eight years and four months in prison. 

“For nearly a decade, the defendants brazenly and repeatedly lied to investors, defrauding them out of more than $18 million and laundering the proceeds of their crime through a complex web of bank accounts around the world,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The defendants have now been held to account for their crimes. The sentences imposed last week reflect the Justice Department’s commitment to rooting out investment fraud and protecting Americans’ financial security.”

According to court documents and the evidence presented at trial, between at least 2013 and 2021, Nock, Brittsan, Griffith, and Ituma conspired to engage in an investment fraud scheme through The Brittingham Group, a purported investment firm that claimed to have access to exclusive investment opportunities, including deals involving the monetization of foreign bank guarantees. Together, the four defendants falsely represented the nature of their investment offerings and made guarantees to victims regarding the safety and security of their funds. The defendants also promised victims outsized returns, to be paid in a short period of time, which the defendants could not and did not ever produce. To promote and conceal the conspiracy, Nock and Brittsan directed victims to send their money to bank accounts that Griffith, Ituma, and other co-conspirators controlled, and created fake documents to send to victims to make the investment appear legitimate and to be progressing. Once the money was in the hands of the co-conspirators, the defendants transferred victim money through a complex web of worldwide bank accounts. 

“For years, the defendants’ blatant and egregious investment fraud scheme used false promises to bilk investors out of millions of dollars of their hard-earned money,” said Special Agent in Charge Christopher J. Altemus Jr. of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Dallas Field Office. “IRS-CI is proud of their joint efforts with the Justice Department and the FBI to hold Nock, Brittsan, Griffith, and Ituma accountable for their greed. The women and men of IRS-CI will continue to band together with their law enforcement partners to pursue those who commit financial crimes and steal from trusting individuals.”

“The victims in this case were promised lucrative investment opportunities, but what they got was a conspiracy of lies and fraud,” said Assistant Director Michael D. Nordwall of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “These defendants stole more than $18 million from over a dozen victims through a years-long fraud scheme, and the sentences they received last week will help hold them accountable for their crimes.”  

In August 2023, the defendants were convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, multiple counts of wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Nock was also convicted of money laundering for using victim funds to pay a prior debt unrelated to The Brittingham Group.

IRS-CI and the FBI investigated the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas provided invaluable assistance.

Trial Attorneys Philip Trout, Vasanth Sridharan, and Sara A. Hallmark of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section prosecuted the case.

Updated March 18, 2024

Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-303