Lafayette Businessman Richard Buswell Sentenced to 126 Months in Prison for Investment Fraud Scheme that Cost Investors Millions
LAFAYETTE, La. –U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Lafayette investment firm owner Richard Buswell was sentenced to 126 months in prison for a scheme that cost victims millions of dollars.
Richard Joseph Buswell, 46, of Lafayette, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik for one count of wire fraud. Buswell was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $125,000 fine and $6,380,808.03 in restitution to victims of the scheme.
According to evidence presented at the July 24, 2013 guilty plea, Buswell worked as a licensed stockbroker from 2006 until 2009 in Lafayette for his company, Bowman Investment Group LLC. He used Brookstone Securities of Lakeland, Fla., as the company’s broker dealer. Buswell engaged in frequent and excessive stock trades in order to earn commissions. He also placed his clients into high risk products when the clients did not meet the requirements under federal security laws, rules and regulations. In order to do this, he falsified account applications concerning net worth and other client information so that some of the clients would appear to meet the requirements of the federal security laws, rules and regulations. As a result of these practices, Buswell received more than $1.7 million in commissions from Brookstone during 2008 and 2009. When the investments failed to produce a profit, clients lost more than $6 million.
Co-defendant Herbert S. “Steve” Fouke, 55, of Lafayette, was sentenced on May 14, 2014 to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, wire fraud and mail fraud. He is jointly responsible with Buswell for paying restitution to the victims of the scheme. They were indicted in August of 2011.
“The defendant in this case misled investors who put their trust in him solely so that he could enrich himself illegally,” Finley stated. “He spent, in some cases, his clients’ life savings leaving them with nothing or in debt. I hope this sentence serves as a warning to those who are thinking about stealing from their customers. This office will continue to prosecute those who put their greed before the interests of well-meaning investors. The prosecutors and agents in this case are to be commended for all of their hard work.”
The FBI conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly P. Uebinger prosecuted the case.