Former husband and wife real estate investment team indicted for $2.25 million fraud scheme
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington
Used money for personal expenses; falsely claimed losses resulted from contractor’s cancer diagnosis
Seattle – A pair of real estate professionals, who as a married couple operated a real estate investment fund, were indicted this week by the federal grand jury for conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman. Paul Waln, 58, of Dallas, Texas, and his ex-wife Tamara King, aka Tamara Waln, 54, of Toledo, Ohio, previously resided in Bellevue and Kirkland, Washington. The pair are scheduled to appear on the indictment on October 12.
According to the indictment, between August 2009 and December 2013, Waln solicited investments in a real estate fund called Halcyon. Twenty-two victims, most of whom were Seattle residents, invested $2.25 million in the fund. Waln told investors their funds would be pooled to purchase and renovate an apartment building in West Seattle, and then used for other real estate projects. Investors were required to leave their money in the investment pool for ten years. Waln said that at the end of the 10-year period, Waln would return the investment principal and earnings, which he estimated amount to a 20 percent annual return. Waln was entitled to receive a 1% fee for managing the investment fund.
In 2013, Waln married King, who was also a real estate agent. Waln and King then jointly managed the investment fund. Between February 2014 and December 2018, they conspired to misappropriate money from the fund to pay their personal expenses. The pair secretly transferred hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time from the fund to their management company, and then transferred the money to King’s personal accounts. In some instances, they wrote secret memos characterizing these transfers as “loans,” but the money was never repaid. Investors were never told about the “loans.”
Under the terms of the investment, Waln and King were required to distribute the investment funds to investors in 2019. But by the end of 2018, they had misappropriated all the money. In December 2018, Waln sent investors a letter falsely claiming that the fund’s general contractor had been diagnosed with cancer. Waln told investors that this would result in a two-to-three-year delay before he would be able to return investors’ money. The contractor in question never had a cancer diagnosis.
Finally, in October 2019, King informed the investors that all the money was gone, and the investment had failed. All the remaining investors lost their entire investments.
The defendants are charged with conspiracy, eight counts of wire fraud, and two counts of money laundering.
Conspiracy is punishable by up to five years in prison. Wire fraud and money laundering are punishable by up to twenty years in prison.
The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Seth Wilkinson.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
Updated October 5, 2023
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud