Former Aequitas Owner and Chief Financial Officer Pleads Guilty in Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracy
PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that Olaf Janke, a former owner and chief financial officer of Aequitas Management, LLC and several other Aequitas-owned entities, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering.
According to court documents, Janke, 48, of Portland, Oregon, along with Brian A. Oliver, 54, of Aurora, Oregon and other unnamed co-conspirators, used the Lake Oswego, Oregon, company to solicit investments in a variety of notes and funds, many of which were purportedly backed by trade receivables in education, health care, transportation, and other consumer credit areas. Janke was the company’s chief financial officer and executive vice president until early 2015 and shared responsibility for the operation and management of Aequitas-affiliated companies and investment products as well as for the use of investor money.
From June 2014 through February 2016, Janke, Oliver and others solicited investors by misrepresenting the company’s use of investor money, the financial health and strength of Aequitas and its related companies, and the risks associated with its investments and investment strategies. Janke and his co-conspirators also failed to disclose other critical facts about the company, including its near-constant liquidity and cash-flow crises, the use of investor money to repay other investors and to defray operating expenses, and the lack of collateral to secure funds.
In March 2015, Janke ended his employment with the Aequitas companies and cashed out his equity in Aequitas Management. From January 2015 through June 2015, he received more than $1.3 million for his equity, knowing that it was paid with fraudulently obtained investor money.
Janke faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, fines of $500,000 or twice the gross monetary gains or losses resulting from his crimes, and three years’ supervised release. He will be sentenced on September 25, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.
As part of the plea agreement, Janke has agreed to pay restitution in full to each of the victims as determined and ordered by the court.
Co-conspirator Oliver pleaded guilty to the same charges on April 19, 2019.
This case is being investigated by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration. It is being prosecuted by Scott E. Bradford and Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.