White County, Tennessee Business Owner Pleads Guilty In $43 Million Investment Scheme
Seized Assets To Be Auctioned Later This Month
Jeffery Lynn Gentry, 40, of White County, Tenn., pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court, to wire fraud and money laundering, announced Jack Smith, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. Gentry was charged on July 5, 2017, with operating a $43 million investment scheme in which he bilked investors out of more than $10 million.
According to court documents, Gentry owned and operated Gentry Brothers Tractor Supply and Gentry Auto, both located in Sparta, Tenn. Beginning in 2012 and continuing to mid-December of 2016, Gentry devised and executed a scheme to defraud and obtain money and property from investors, promising high rates of return on investments, purportedly used to purchase farm-related equipment to satisfy state contracts and producing significant profits.
Gentry falsely represented to investors, including customers, friends, acquaintances, and family members, many of whom lived in White County, Tennessee, that he was bidding on and winning contracts from various states, including Tennessee, to supply equipment, including tractors, lawn mowers, and other farm-related equipment through his tractor supply company.
Through this scheme, Gentry convinced more than 50 individuals to invest funds totaling approximately $43 million and caused financial loss to investors of more than $10 million.
Despite his assurances to investors of significant returns, Gentry admitted that he never intended to invest the funds as promised but instead, used the money to subsidize his lifestyle, amassing assets worth a substantial amount of money, including numerous tracts of real estate and vehicles.
In March 2016, Gentry also used investor funds to start up and support a new business venture, Gentry Auto, a used car lot, transferring more than $365,000 of investor funds from the Gentry Brothers Tractor Supply Company to the Gentry Auto business between March 24, 2016 and December 6, 2016.
The Government also seeks a monetary judgement of at least $10 million to recover losses suffered by the victims in this case.
During this investigation, the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Marshals’ Service seized the assets of Gentry, including his businesses, vehicles, farm equipment and livestock, houses, tracts of land and approximately $300,000 cash. On August 26, 2017, the U.S. Marshals’ Service will liquidate these assets at auction in Sparta, Tenn. Details of the auction are available at www.txAuction.com.
Gentry faces up to 20 years in prison on each count and monetary fines when he is sentenced by Judge AletaTrauger later this year.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Marshal’s Service. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathryn Risinger and Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Phillips is handling the asset forfeiture.