TACOMA – An unlicensed “investment adviser” from Vancouver, Washington was sued today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma, 75, in connection with his scheme to defraud investors, including friends and family, out of more than $4. was sentenced to a month’s imprisonment. Million announced US Attorney Nick Brown. Charles Richard Burgess, 67, initially tried to blame his COVID-19 pandemic for the loss of victims’ funds. But in reality, Burgess lost most of his investors’ money years ago and hid his losses from them. At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Chief Justice David Estudillo noted “the long-lasting effects of the crime on the victim.” Chief Justice Estadillo told Burgess, “Lying, cheating, and stealing seem to be values you’ve lived by.”
U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said, “It’s heartbreaking to read the victim’s affidavit that their lives have changed so dramatically, they never retired, they don’t have the money to care for their children with disabilities. No. In some cases, victims’ homes were at risk of foreclosure.” He sent false statements showing substantial profits, when in fact investment funds were insolvent and worthless since at least 2013, and Mr. I received over $1 million in commissions for
In the mid-1990s, Burgess began selling investments in unregistered investment vehicles, according to records filed in the lawsuit. Burgess did not become a registered or licensed investment advisor. But between January 1995 and his April 2021, he convinced his 64 people to invest his $13.4 million in “Pool.” He sought investments from friends, family, and others he trusted. Burgess did nothing to screen investors to ascertain the type of risk they were willing to accept, and in many cases did not provide documentation regarding the nature of their investments.
Burgess told investors that he would only charge a fee if the fund made a profit, and he told some investors that he would personally absorb losses on trading. Burgess has provided statements to investors showing that their account balances have increased significantly over time. But those statements were false. For example, in 2016, Burgess sent a statement to investors stating that their investments had increased by about 10% that year. In fact, the investment lost money.
As of 2013, Burgess was unable to repay all of its investors’ principal. In December 2013, Burgess told investors that his investor account was worth more than $4.2 million. In fact, the pool’s assets at the time were only about $711,000. By the end of December 2015, it had gotten even worse. Burgess told investors that the account totaled him over $5.2 million, while the actual value was only about $365,000. By the end of 2020, Burgess stated in his year-end statement that he had over $10.3 million in total victim accounts. In fact, Poole’s assets totaled only $113,000.
As his financial situation deteriorated, Burgess repaid his previous investors with money from new investors – a classic Ponzi scheme.
Speaking in court today, one of the victims said Burgess was a “pathological liar.” Another wrote to the court, “He’s a fraudster. Nothing more than that in my eyes.” It needs to be done,” he wrote.
In all, 32 investors lost $4.3 million in principal paid to Burgess. Burgess was ordered to pay his $4,383,617 to victims’ investors.
We are pleased that Mr. Burgess has accepted responsibility for his actions, but the amount of money stolen from his victims justifies a lengthy sentence,” said a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Seattle field office. said Richard A. Collody of I applaud the work of our partners with the state.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI).
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Wilkinson.