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Press Release

Waukee Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa – A Waukee man pleaded guilty on June 10 to wire fraud and money laundering charges.  

According to public court records, William Jack Berg, 51, sold life insurance, annuities, and similar products to individuals in Central Iowa, Saint Louis, and other regions while acting as a financial advisor to many individuals in these areas. From at least January 2019, and continuing to May 2023, Berg defrauded over a dozen individuals by encouraging them to withdraw money out of the individuals’ pre-existing investments or financial accounts and transfer the withdrawn money to Berg for investment through “W Holdings of Iowa” and/or “Excel Performance Management.” The targeted individuals provided Berg with over $1.5 million that Berg did not invest for their benefit. Instead, Berg used the money for Berg’s personal expenses including vehicles, jewelry, rent, travel, groceries, gas, clothing, and dining out. One such expense included a check written from Berg’s bank account in February 2022 to a Clive jewelry store in the amount of $37,343 for the purchase of a custom 14 karat white gold engagement ring featuring a 2.20 carat oval cut diamond and an additional 38 diamonds weighing 1.04 carats in total. A part of his plea, Berg agreed to forfeit this engagement ring and other jewelry purchased with fraudulently acquired monies.

Berg also used the money to make payments to other individuals as purported “returns” or “dividends” on previously received money despite Berg had already spent those individuals’ monies. Berg admitted to making false and fraudulent representations to his victims for the purpose of enriching himself at the expense of the victims.

Berg is scheduled to be sentenced on October 11, 2024, and potentially faces up to twenty years in prison for wire fraud and up to 10 years in prison for money laundering. A federal district court judge will determine the sentence Berg will receive after considering the United States Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. Berg will also be ordered to pay restitution to all victims of his fraud scheme in an amount to be determined by the sentencing federal district court judge.

United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement. The Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating the case. Assistant United States Attorney Adam J. Kerndt is prosecuting the case.


MacKenzie Tubbs
Public Information Officer 

Updated June 13, 2024

Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud