Dearborn, Michigan man indicted for conspiracy, wire, and mail fraud for nearly $4 million refund fraud on U.S. retailers
A long-time investment advisor in Redmond, Washington was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to five years in prison for defrauding more than 15 investors of more than $3 million, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. DENNIS GIBB, 72, the President and owner of Sweetwater Investments Inc., pleaded guilty in March 2019, to wire fraud and falsification of records with the intent to obstruct a matter within the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Simultaneously, GIBB and Sweetwater investment entered into a consent decree with the SEC liquidating the Sweetwater Income Flood LP Fund and barring GIBB from further investment activity. At the sentencing hearing, Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez said GIBB “entered into a scheme and deliberately, intentionally and knowingly stole money from people who came to him…. Many victims, late in their lives, entrusting him with money they intended to get them through the last years of their lives.”
“Those who invested with this defendant were not looking for the ridiculously large profits promised by some Ponzi schemers – they invested with the defendant because he promised them a secure, if modest, payout,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “Instead, over more than a decade this defendant stole their savings, retirement funds, future home down payments, and children’s education funds. To make matters worse, he provided victims with false tax documents, causing some to pay additional taxes on non-existent gains. This defendant not only robbed the victims financially, he stole their peace of mind and their trust.”
According to the criminal case filings and the SEC consent decree, GIBB created Sweetwater Income Flood Limited Partnership, a private fund Gibb managed, in 2008. As early as 2007, he began soliciting investors for the fund targeting those who wanted steady retirement income in the near future. Between 2007 and 2018, about 25 investors put about $7.3 million into the fund. GIBB secretly transferred more than $3.1 million from the fund for his own expenses. To hide his theft, GIBB sent investors falsified quarterly account statements. When the SEC began an examination of the Sweetwater Investments in May 2018, GIBB provided false records to examiners indicating the fund had been liquidated.
GIBB agreed to forfeit a money judgment of $3,197,401. The Court also ordered restitution of $4,233,616. This amount includes approximately $1.77 million that remained in the Income Flood fund at the time of Gibb’s consent decree and guilty plea. Gibb agreed to turn these funds over to the SEC for disbursement to victims, and the funds will be disbursed as part of the restitution order.
The case was investigated by the SEC and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov