Former Liberty Man Sentenced for $2.2 Million Investment Fraud Scheme
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Timothy A. Garrison, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former Liberty, Mo., man was sentenced in federal court today for an investment fraud scheme.
Henry Thomas Hammond, 61, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., formerly of Liberty, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to one year and one day in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Hammond to pay $2,266,325 in restitution to his victims.
Hammond, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on Jan. 13, 2017, owned, operated or was involved in several businesses, including Longhorn Construction, Inc.; Longhorn Properties, LLC; Longhorn Development Group, Inc.; Longhorn Construction, North American Investment Group, Inc., and others.
Hammond admitted that he participated in a fraudulent investment scheme from June 2009 through July 2010 in which eight victim investors lost a total of $2,266,325. Some of the money invested by victims of the scheme was used by Hammond for his personal benefit.
Co-Conspirator A (who is not identified) promoted himself to Hammond and others as an international financier who could provide financing for substantial building projects. With the housing and economic collapse in 2008, conventional borrowing scaled back, making it difficult for individuals, businesses and developers to obtain financing. Alternative financing programs became more prominent. Some claimed to employ leveraged bank instruments and Collateralized Mortgage Obligations (a mortgage-backed security that contains a pool of mortgages bundled together, broken down into tranches and sold as investments) and European trading platforms. Co-Conspirator A also claimed to have a Strategic Investment Program that was connected with the Maranatha Platform (a trading platform connected to the Maranatha Church that engaged in leveraged investments), one of the major European trading platforms.
This program and others promoted by Co-Conspirator A were nonexistent and Co-Conspirator A operated each of them opaquely and as a fraud scheme.
According to court documents, Hammond was willfully blind to the fact that the investment program was a fraudulent scam. Hammond knew or should have known the material information that he passed on to investors was false and turned a blind eye to warning signs that the investment programs were a fraudulent scam. As a result of these actions, Hammond and his co-conspirators lulled the investors into investing additional money and/or discouraged them from withdrawing from the investment program and seeking a refund of their invested funds.
In July 2010, Hammond told certain investors the Strategic Investment Program would not be paying and offered to roll investor funds into a hotel project; the hotel project was never completed.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane Pansing Brown. It was investigated by the FBI.