Participant in Advance Fee Fraud Scheme Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that ALEXANDER D. HURT, also known as “Alex Hurt” and “Alex Dante,” 45, of Scottsdale, Ariz., formerly of Massachusetts, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven to 60 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in an advance fee fraud scheme that victimized more than 40 individuals who lost a total of more than $4.5 million. HURT also was ordered to perform 250 hours of community service while on supervised release.
On December 22, 2014, a grand jury returned an 11-count indictment charging HURT and David C. Jackson, also known as “C. David Manns,” “Charles Jackson” and “Andrew D. Smithson,” with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and multiple counts of wire fraud. The indictment also charged Hurt with one count of making a false statement to federal law enforcement. On September 29, 2015, a jury returned a verdict of guilty on all counts.
According to the evidence presented during the trial, in approximately September 2009, Jackson, using the alias “C. David Manns,” established Jalin Realty Capital Advisors, LLC, using a business address in Dayton, Ohio. In 2011, Jackson changed the name of his business to American Capital Holdings, LLC, using business addresses in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Soon after changing the business name, Jackson began introducing himself to victim clients as “Charles Jackson” and then also used the name “Andrew Smithson” to prevent victims from learning his true identity and the true nature of his background and his scheme.
HURT held himself out as Vice President of Brightway Financial Group, LLC, a company that used a business addresses in Grapevine, Texas. As established during the trial, HURT used his background as a pastor with a Brockton, Massachusetts church to gain the confidence of a number of victims who lost money in the scheme. When meeting with victims, HURT represented himself to be the decision maker with respect to whether or not the individuals would get loans for their business. HURT’s representations, like the loans themselves were entirely fraudulent.
Working together Jackson and others, HURT defrauded individuals, including Connecticut residents, out of millions of dollars. In anticipation of receiving large business loans that HURT represented he could deliver, the victims wired funds to Jackson, HURT and certain escrow accounts that they had set up. The upfront fees were alternately described as “application fees,” “collateral fees” or “commitment fees.” The victims were promised that the fees were totally refundable, and the victims were told by HURT and others that they would be provided a refund of the upfront fees if their loan transactions were not completed.
In order to convince victim-borrowers that the loans were legitimate and that Jalin and ACH had successfully secured loans in the past, Jackson provided victims and potential victims the name and phone number of a co-conspirator and told them that they could contact her for a reference. After she was contacted, the co-conspirator falsely represented to victims and potential victims that she had, in fact, received funding from Jackson for a construction loan, and that she had successfully done a project financed with her co-conspirator and Jalin.
Through this scheme, more than 40 individuals provided Jackson and HURT with more than $4.5 million in advance fees and funds that were to be held in escrow for business loans that were never provided. Some of the individuals received partial refunds of the advance fees they had provided, but the refunds were made using fees that had been paid by other victims in a Ponzi-like scheme.
HURT previously served as Pastor at the Dominion Christian Church in Brockton, Mass. As established in court, HURT moved money generated through the scheme through church accounts and used the proceeds for himself and his family.
HURT was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,255,000
On February 8, 2016, Jackson was sentenced to 205 months of imprisonment.
Jackson was previously convicted in the Western District of Pennsylvania of federal bank fraud and money laundering offenses in October 2006 and was sentenced to 41 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release. He was released from federal prison in September 2009 and operated this advance fee fraud scheme while on supervised release.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Ansonia Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony E. Kaplan and Michael S. McGarry.