Copley Man Charged for Role in $17 Million Investment Fraud
A Copley man was charged in federal court with defrauding about 70 investors out of approximately $17 million, law enforcement officials said.
Kenneth A. Grant, 66, was charged in a criminal information with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud and one count of money laundering.
The charges were announced by Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Office, and Kathy Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigations, Cincinnati Field Office.
“This case is another sad reminder that so-called investment gurus who make promises of big guaranteed returns should send up red flags,” Dettelbach said. “If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.”
“Ken Grant callously preyed on the desires of many to make wise investments for a secure future and duped them out of their life savings,” Anthony said. “Fraudsters such as Mr. Grant remain a top priority of the FBI.”
“Mr. Grant overpromised and then stole his investors’ funds. Investment fraud is not a victimless crime,” Enstrom said. “IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to bring our forensic accounting skills to this joint venture and help put a stop to this and other types of white collar crime.”
Grant and another individual owned and operated KGTA Petroleum, Ltd. Grant and others marketed KGTA as a company that earned profits from buying and selling crude oil and refined fuel products. Grant and others represented to investors that they had relationships with third-party purchasers and investor funds would be used to purchase fuel products at a discount and then resold at substantial profit, according to the information.
KGTA issued investment agreements and promissory notes which offered guaranteed monthly payments up to 5 percent per month or annual payments of approximately 60 percent per year, according to the information. Grant and others – including three registered representatives with PrimeSolutions Securities Inc. in the Akron area – never filed documentation about KGTA with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the information.
Grant and others obtained approximately $31 million from about 70 investors between 2010 and 2014 through false and fraudulent pretenses. Grant and others knew KGTA did not have agreements in place to sell oil and fuel, and that investors would not earn 5 percent per month on their investments, according to the information.
Grant and others used investor money for personal expenditures and luxury items including a Mercedes Benz, a boat and mortgage payments on high-end residential property. As a result of the conspiracy, Grant and others defrauded the investors out of approximately $17 million, according to the information.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark S. Bennett and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Kleinmann following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations.
If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after a review of the federal sentencing guidelines and factors unique to the case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record (if any), the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation.
A criminal information is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.