Three Palm Beach County Men Charged with $3.6 Million Investment Fraud Scheme
Three Palm Beach County residents have been charged with orchestrating a $3.6 million investment fraud scheme.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Ronald L. Rubin, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR), made the announcement.
T. Jonathan Turner, a/k/a “Jon Barri Brothers,” 52, of Wellington, Florida, Norman M. Strell, 73, of Wellington, Florida and Scott P. Strochak, 57, of Boynton Beach, Florida were charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 15 substantive wire fraud counts (Case No. 19-80073-CR-Rosenberg). Today, Turner was arraigned and Strell had his initial appearance.
According to allegations in the court record, including those contained in the indictment and previously filed criminal complaint, Turner was the Vice Chairman, President and Chief Operations Officer of Castleberry Financial Services Group. Castleberry falsely promoted itself to investors as “a leading Alternative Investments Manager” with a history of “deploying almost $800 million in capital across the balance sheets of leading local businesses.” In addition, contrary to its representation that it managed separate funds, Castleberry pooled investor funds in one bank account that was controlled by Turner and co-conspirator Strell. Turner, Strell and Strochak promoted the sale of Castleberry’s securities through materials and solicitations that falsely represented that the company’s investor proceeds were fully bonded and insured and would be invested in real estate and distressed businesses to generate profits from which investor returns would be paid. In addition, they lured individuals to invest money in Castleberry’s securities offerings by falsely touting Turner’s prior financial industry experience and educational achievements, while failing to disclose his prior felony convictions for fraud related offenses. In fact, Castleberry did not make any significant income generating investments. Instead, Turner and his co-conspirators misused and misappropriated investor funds to pay for their own personal expenses, transfer money into their own bank accounts, accounts of entities they controlled and those of family members.
The court record alleges that as a result of the fraudulent scheme, 15 investor victims lost more than $3.6 million.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a parallel civil enforcement action against Turner related to this scheme.
An indictment contains allegations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and OFR in this matter. She thanked the SEC Miami Regional Office for their assistance. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Lothrop Morris.