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Press Release

Florida promoter sentenced to 20 years for duping investors in fraudulent Southfork Ranch concert scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Texas

SHERMAN, Texas – An Orlando, Florida man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for wire fraud in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs. 

James Walker Watson, Jr., 68, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in May 2023 and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III, on June 20, 2024.  Judge Mazzant announced restitution to victims would be determined at a separate hearing.

According to information presented in court, from 2016 to 2020, Walker devised and carried out a scheme to commit fraud against multiple individuals in the North Texas area by representing to them that he was a successful concert promoter and was looking for investors to give him money to put on concert events, including two purported concerts at the Southfork Ranch in Plano, Texas.  Walker took the victims’ money but failed to return the investments as he had promised.   He would often tell investors that, without further investment and involvement with his ventures, they would not receive any of their money back.  The fraudulent activity resulted in a loss to victims of approximately $3 million. 

“The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to bring charges against and prosecute those who commit fraud and steal money from victims in our district,” said U. S. Attorney Damien M. Diggs.  “These crimes often take advantage of individuals who trust the defendants with their hard-earned savings and investments, only to lose them forever.  We appreciate the work of the FBI in investigating and partnering with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring this defendant to justice.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Combs.


Updated June 21, 2024

Financial Fraud