Chief Financial Officer Sentenced To 9 Years’ Imprisonment For Defrauding Investors Of More Than $10 MillionIn Two Separate Fraud Schemes
Advance Fee Scheme Targeted Developers Seeking Financing For Construction Projects In Areas Devastated By Hurricane Katrina
Earlier today, Frank E. Perkins, the Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of Harbor Funding Group, Inc. (“HFGI”) and Black Sand Mine, Inc. (“BSMI”), was sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn to 9 years’ imprisonment. In September 2014, Perkins pleaded guilty to two counts charging conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud for his role in defrauding: (i) developers and their clients in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina of more than $9 million through an advance fee scheme; and (ii) investors of almost $1 million through an Alaskan gold mine investment scheme. As part of the sentence, Perkins was also sentenced to 3 years’ supervised release and ordered to pay a total of $10,707,894.59 in restitution to the victims of the two schemes. The sentencing for lead defendant William C. Lange is scheduled for March 12, 2015.
The sentences were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector in Charge, New York Division, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and Frank Montoya, Jr., Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Seattle Field Office (FBI).
“Perkins and his co-defendants preyed upon investors seeking to rebuild areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina and stole their victims’ deposit money through an intricate web of lies and deceit. After they spent the more than $9 million they stole from their victims, Perkins and his co-defendants embarked on a gold mine investment scheme that was built and sold on lies. Today’s sentence sends a strong message that those who exploit tragedies to line their own pockets will be held accountable for their crimes,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch thanked the USPIS and the FBI for their hard work and dedication through the course of this six-year investigation and prosecution. Ms. Lynch also extended her appreciation to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington for their assistance in the case.
Perkins and his co-conspirators told land developers and their clients that HFGI had lenders and millions of dollars in funds available to provide financing for their real estate projects. As a condition for financing, HFGI required investors to place ten percent of the loan amount in an attorney escrow account. Contrary to Perkins’ representations, HFGI did not have lenders or funds available to finance the loans. As soon as the money was placed in escrow, Perkins and his co-conspirators stole it, at times through the use of a sham escrow agreement. Through this scheme, Perkins and his co-conspirators stole more than $9 million from approximately 300 individuals. As CFO, Perkins authorized the $9 million to be spent on, among other things, salaries, fishing and hunting trips for co-defendants William and Kristofor Lange, remodeling and landscaping for co-defendant William Lange’s new house, and other business ventures started by Perkins and his co-conspirators.
After the $9 million was spent, Perkins and his co-conspirators moved on to BSMI and the gold mine investment scheme. BSMI claimed that it would mine gold and other precious metals on Sitkinak Island in Alaska. Through the use of in-person presentations, cold calls, and “webinars,” Perkins and his co-conspirators convinced investors to purchase BSMI stock by lying to them about the credentials of BSMI’s officers and directors, BSMI’s assets and liabilities, the intended use of investor funds, and by concealing their prior involvement in HFGI. Perkins also concealed his prior involvement in HFGI. Almost $1 million collected from investors in BSMI was spent on salaries and other personal expenses for Perkins and his co-conspirators.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Winston M. Paes, Alixandra E. Smith, and Melanie Hendry.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement and investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,900 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
FRANK E. PERKINS
La Grange, Kentucky
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 10-CR-968 (DLI)