Two Convicted in North Texas Multi-Million Investment Fraud Scheme
SHERMAN, Texas –Two Texas men have been found guilty by a jury following an investment fraud trial in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
Thurman Bryant, III, 46, of Frisco, Texas and Arthur Franz Wammel, 46, of Houston, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud today by a jury following a trial before U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant that lasted nearly two weeks.
According to information presented in court, the defendants devised and executed an investment fraud scheme that claimed to earn investors a guaranteed minimum 30% annual return on investment. In addition, Bryant promised an investment that would be placed in a secure escrow account, when in fact the money was funneled to Wammel for securities trading and other purposes. Evidence at trial showed that the defendants separately spent money on personal expenses such as home leases, home improvements, car leases, expensive jewelry, and private school tuition, and that defendant Wammel spent a large amount of money on expenses related to a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Range Rover. Additional evidence showed that the investors contributed over $22 million to the scheme.
Bryant and Wammel were indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 13, 2017.
“The trial evidence showed that the defendants’ scheme was very similar to a classic Ponzi scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown. “Many of the victims were family and friends of one of the defendants. This case shows the harm that can be caused by greed and false promises of safe investments. The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI are dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of these types of criminal fraud schemes.”
Under federal statutes, Bryant and Wammel each face up to 20 years in federal prison at sentencing. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tom Gibson, Glenn Roque-Jackson, and Anand Varadarajan.