Ohio man sentenced to nearly two years in prison for stealing $350,000 through fraudulent horseracing venture
A Logan man was sentenced to nearly two years in prison for stealing more than $350,000 from investors through a fraudulent horseracing venture and using the money to buy expensive clothes, vehicles and pay for gambling expenses, law enforcement officials said.
Jonathan Pippin, 30, was sentenced to 21 months in prison and ordered to pay $358,370 in restitution.
He previously pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
Pippin created PJH Horse Racing, Inc. in 2011. The company was headquartered in Cleveland and purported to be in the business of purchasing race horses. Pippin had sole control over the company and its various bank accounts, according to court documents.
Pippin solicited investors to his company under false pretenses. He told potential investors that they were investing in a venture with a wealthy businessman and widely-known horse racing figure – identified in the charges only as M.R. – when in reality Pippin did not know M.R.
Pippin falsely represented to investors that they would receive a percentage of the winnings of M.R.’s horses when he knew it was not true. He also told investors that he had stud rights to M.R.’s horses when he did not, according to court documents.
Pippin used the investors’ money to enrich himself and pay personal expenses, such as the purchase of a Cadillac Escalade, tickets to sporting events, gambling expenses, rent and expensive clothing. Four investors lost a combined $358,370, according to court documents.
“This defendant created a web of lies to pay for fancy cars, expensive clothes and gambling expenses,” Rendon said. “He defrauded investors to pay for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford. Now he’ll be held accountable for his actions.”
"When you knowingly mix deceit and trickery into the financial well-being of individuals, you create a recipe for devastation that could last a lifetime," said Kathy A. Enstrom, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. "Today's sentence demonstrates how federal law enforcement will band together to help put an end to the criminal behavior of those who prey on investors for their personal financial gain."
“This case is another example of the success of the task force concept where multiple federal agencies bring expertise to an investigation resulting in a successful conviction,” said Craig Wisniewsky, Special Agent in Charge of the Secret Service's Cleveland office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Christos M. Georgalis following an investigation by the IRS-CI and United States Secret Service.