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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Owner Of New York Investment Fund Charged With $21 Million Scheme To Defraud Investors

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Philip R. Bartlett, the Inspector-in-Charge of the New York Office of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (“USPIS”), announced today that BRENT BORLAND, the owner and principal of a New York-based investment fund known as Belize Infrastructure Fund I LLC (“Belize Fund”), was arrested this morning and charged with conspiring to commit, and the commission of, securities and wire fraud in connection with a $21 million investment fraud scheme.  BORLAND will be presented later today in Manhattan federal court before United States Magistrate Judge Barbara Moses.     

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Berman said:  “Brent Borland, owner of Belize Infrastructure Fund, allegedly induced investors to contribute over $21 million into the construction of an airport in Belize by promising a high rate of return, which was secured by real property owned by the fund.  In reality, some of the real property investors were told secured the debt did not even exist; and Borland allegedly was using their money for personal expenses, such as luxury automobiles, a beach club membership, and private school tuition for his children. Cases such as this serve as a cautionary tale for investors – always carefully vet your investments – and if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”  

USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Bartlett said:  “Brent Borland allegedly lied to investors and inappropriately used their investment funds to finance a life of luxury.  Postal Inspectors remind investors, where there is high reward, there is high risk. If an investment offer sounds too good to be true, it’s most likely a scam.”

According to the Complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court:[1] 

From 2014 through March 2018, BORLAND solicited and received approximately $21.9 million through Belize Fund from approximately 40 investors based upon representations that BORLAND would use the investors’ money to construct an airport in Belize.  BORLAND promised investors high rates of return on their investments, which he represented were temporary “bridge financing.”  BORLAND also represented to investors that their investments would be fully secured by real property in Belize that was unencumbered by any liens or obligations.

In fact, however, BORLAND misappropriated millions of dollars of investors’ funds and used those funds for his own personal benefit.  BORLAND diverted at least approximately thirty percent of the investments to pay for a variety of personal expenses, including his mortgage payments, credit card bills, luxury automobiles, a beach club membership, and private school tuition for his children.   In contrast to BORLAND’s representations that investors would receive high rates of return within a specified time, all known investors in the scheme lost money.  And while BORLAND represented that the investments would be secured by real property, the property purportedly serving as collateral was improperly pledged to multiple investors and, in some cases, did not even exist. 

*                *                *

BORLAND, 48, of Sag Harbor, New York, is charged in a three-count criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of five years in prison; one count of securities fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison; and one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.          

Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the USPIS and thanked the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has filed civil charges in a separate action.  He added that the investigation is ongoing.

If you believe you were a victim of this crime, including a victim entitled to restitution, and you wish to provide information to law enforcement and/or receive notice of future developments in the case or additional information, please contact the Victim/Witness Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, at (866) 874-8900.  For additional information, go to: http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys/victimwitness.html.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Edward A. Imperatore and Negar Tekeei are in charge of the prosecution.

The allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud
Press Release Number: 
18-163
Updated May 16, 2018