Arrest in California on Hawaii Indictment Charges Investment Fraud of Over $2 Million
HONOLULU – United States Attorney Clare E. Connors and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill announced today that Richard Patterson, also known as Xavier Carter, 40, was arrested on February 11 in California pursuant to an indictment in the District of Hawaii. Patterson, Dashawn Hill, 46, and Judy Ramos, 52, all former residents of Hawaii, were charged with Conspiracy and Wire Fraud, and Patterson and Ramos also were charged with money laundering. Patterson made an initial appearance in court in the Central District of California. Ramos and Hill have not yet been arrested.
The indictment alleges that beginning by at least in or around July 2015, the defendants participated in an “advanced payment scheme.” One or more of the defendants solicited upfront payments from victim-investors that would purportedly be used to generate much larger sums of money for the victim-investors after a short period. The upfront payments were not invested and had no reasonable possibility of generating the promised return. To perpetuate the scheme, the defendants falsely represented that they were wealthy financial professionals, and that Patterson and Hill owned a financial institution that was properly registered in Switzerland. At times, Patterson used a fictitious alias, “Xavier Carter” and spoke with a fake accent.
The indictment further alleges that upfront payments were divided amongst the defendants and used to pay the defendants’ personal expenses, such as credit card bills, rent, entertainment expenses, and other expenses, none of which were investments and had no potential to earn the returns promised to the investors. During the course of the conspiracy, the defendants collectively solicited over $2.5 million in upfront payments from investors, and only returned approximately $163,000, some of which was derived from the payments of other victim-investors.
“Those who take money from investors by promising great returns in a short amount of time, with little or no attempt to generate such returns, should face serious consequences for their actions,” said U.S. Attorney Connors.
“The alleged fraudsters preyed on our communities, targeting trusting families and local business owners for their own selfish gain. The FBI takes financial crimes very seriously and will bring its considerable resources to hold those who commit fraud accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. “Friday's arrest is a direct result of the professional and thorough work of our employees and partners. I urge the community to use our tip line at tips.fbi.gov to aid us in bringing those who commit fraudulent schemes to justice.”
If convicted, each defendant faces a sentence of up to 20 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud or wire fraud. Patterson and Ramos face up to 10 years imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count of money laundering. An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Michael F. Albanese is prosecuting the case.