Father And Son Sentenced For Their Roles In Fraud Scheme
Tampa, Florida - U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew today sentenced John Henley Fowler (64, Ft. Myers) to 5 years and ten months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. The court also sentenced his son, Jeffrey Robert Fowler (35, Ft. Myers), to 3 years and one month in federal prison on a similar charge. As part of the sentence, the court also ordered the forfeiture of bank accounts, vehicles, real property, computer equipment, a big screen television, iPad and iPhone, which are traceable to proceeds of the fraud scheme. In addition, the court ordered a money judgment in the amount of $3,771,701.88, the proceeds of the fraud scheme. In a related civil forfeiture proceeding, the government had already forfeited more than $2 million in fraudulent proceeds. The U.S. Attorney's Office will seek approval to have these funds distributed to the victims of this crime.
John Fowler pleaded guilty on September 19, 2012. Jeffrey Fowler pleaded guilty on September 18, 2012.
According to court documents, from about December 2010 through November 2011, conspirators developed a plan to use false and fraudulent representations to solicit victim-investors to wire funds into bank accounts, which they controlled, for investment in a purported gold futures program. The investment program was supposedly run by an existing New York-based investment firm called Paulson & Co., Inc. To further the fraud scheme, the Fowlers caused the incorporation of a Florida corporation named Paulson & Co., Inc. (Paulson-Florida), leased office space for the corporation in Ft. Myers, and opened bank accounts in the name of the corporation, all for the purpose of making Paulson-Florida appear to be legitimate. The Fowlers and their co-conspirators fraudulently represented that Paulson-Florida was a branch office of the real Paulson & Co., Inc. In fact, there was no connection whatsoever between the two entities.
The Paulson-Florida bank accounts and other accounts were used to receive more than $4 million in funds from victim-investors, who wanted to invest in the purported gold futures investment program. The Fowlers and their co-conspirators used the funds to perpetuate the fraud scheme for the personal enrichment of themselves, their family members, and friends.
This case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachelle DesVaux Bedke.