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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Securities Fraud Conspiracy

United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District Of North Carolina

Defendant Falsely Told Investor Victim He Was a Former FBI Agent

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Mark Burgin, 44, of Tampa, Fla. appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer today and pleaded guilty to securities fraud conspiracy for soliciting investor victims to invest in a fraudulent bond scheme, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Burgin’s conspirator, Charles Abrams, 52, of Huntersville, N.C., also faces wire fraud and securities fraud conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud charges in connection with the scheme.

John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division joins U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement.

According to filed court documents and today’s plea hearing, Burgin and Abrams engaged in a securities fraud scheme, by promoting a fraudulent investment known as the Mexican “Pink Lady” Bonds (bonds), which the two men claimed were gold-backed bearer bonds issued in 1899 by the “United States of Mexico” and had a value of 5% interest compounded daily. According to court records, the two men induced victims to invest in their scheme by falsely claiming that they had purchased the rare bond during a trip to Los Angeles in 2010. Court records show that, in February 2011, Burgin and Abrams met with one victim investor, identified as “Individual 1” and falsely represented that they were putting the bond on a trading platform named “Euroclear.” At that meeting, the conspirators promised Individual 1 a return of over $1.1 million based on the victim’s $225,000 past investment.

Court records indicate that in April 2011, Burgin and Abrams solicited another victim investor, “Individual 2,” to invest in the bond. During their meeting with Individual 2, court records indicate Burgin falsely held himself out to be a former police officer with Gastonia and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Departments and a former Special Agent with the FBI. According to court records, Burgin and Abrams falsely represented to Individual 2 that the bond was under contract with a company named “Americana” for $2 billion, and that they were to receive $1.9 billion from its sale. Court records indicate over the next few days, the conspirators induced Individual 2 to invest in the bond by falsely claiming that a purchase of the bond by the U.S. Treasury Department was imminent, causing Individual 2 to wire transfer $10,000 to a bank account maintained by Abrams. In addition to defrauding the investor victims, Burgin also provided false statements to law enforcement about his knowledge and participation in the scheme, court records show.

Burgin was released on bond following his plea hearing. He faces a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250,000 fine, or both, and has agreed to pay restitution, the amount of which will be determined by the Court at sentencing. A sentencing date for the defendant has not been set yet.

Abrams has also been released on bond and is scheduled appear to before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Keesler for his arraignment hearing on November 24, 2014 at 9:55 a.m.

The investigation was handled by the FBI. Assistant United States Attorney Kenneth M. Smith, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte is handling the prosecution.

Updated March 19, 2015