Westport Man Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Investors, Making False Statements to SEC
Leonard C. Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BARTON STUCK, 74, of Westport, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer in New Haven to 12 months and one day of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for defrauding investors and then making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Stuck controlled related business entities, including Signal Lake General Partner LLC, Signal Lake Operations LLC, Signal Lake Management LLC, Signal Lake Side Fund LP, Signal Lake Side Fund II LP, Signal Lake Side Fund IIA LP, Signal Lake Top Prospects Fund, and SLT Logic LLC (collectively, the “Signal Lake entities”). The Signal Lake entities were venture capital vehicles investing in various technology companies. Stuck solicited investments for the Signal Lake entities.
In 2015 and 2016, Stuck committed fraud by, among other things, misrepresenting the financial health and prospects of the Signal Lake entities and their investments in order to enrich himself. In one instance, Stuck made misrepresentations to an undercover FBI agent posing as a prospective investor. Stuck falsely guaranteed a payment of twice the original $500,000 investment, and falsely claimed that a Signal Lake entity had $200 million in a particular bank account when, in fact, the balance of the bank account at the time was $.50. He also falsely stated that a $50,000 fee he required would be used for accounting and legal expenses. When the undercover agent paid Stuck the $50,000 fee, Stuck used it for personal expenditures.
Stuck also made false statements in forms that he filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2016 and 2017. Specifically, Stuck falsely claimed that a Signal Lake entity managed and had a gross asset value of $145 million, and was subject to annual audits by a Stamford accounting firm.
On October 25, 2018, Stuck pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions, and two counts of making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Stuck, who is released on a $100,000 bond, is required to report to prison on June 24, 2021.
This investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Connecticut Department of Banking. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan N. Francis.