A Fayetteville man is among four people charged in an alleged $16 million wire fraud and money laundering scheme involving fake investment offerings.
The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas announced the indictment on Wednesday. It alleges that John C. Nock, 53, of Fayetteville; Brian Brittsan, 65, of San Marcos, California; Kevin Griffith, 66, of Orem, Utah; and Alexander Ituma, 55, of Lehi, Utah, engaged in an investment fraud scheme between 2013 and 2021 through their firm, The Brittingham Group.
The men were each charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The 12-count indictment also charges Nock, the alleged founder of the firm, with money laundering. The four made their initial court appearance Wednesday, prosecutors said.
According to a statement from the office of U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes, the men falsely represented their investment offerings and promised large returns "they could not and did not produce." They promised returns as high as 300% within 20 to 30 days, the indictment says.
More: Read the indictment here.
The indictment alleges that Nock and Brittsan promised "structured" financial transactions involving standby letters of credit, known as SBLCs, along with bank guarantees and other financial instruments that they offered to monetize. They required money up front, often telling victims that they needed to pay fees or cover startup costs.
"In reality," the indictment says, "there was no legitimate investment."
Nock and Brittsan directed victims to send their money to bank accounts controlled by Griffith, Ituma and others, and the defendants then transferred the money through a web of bank accounts "throughout the world," according to authorities.
To appear legitimate, Nock and Brittsan allegedly claimed they had an office on Wall Street and credit lines with several companies. They also guaranteed the safety of investors' principal payments through fraudulent letters on third-party letterheads.
Authorities say Nock and other defendants would occasionally fabricate letters from government agencies, as well. They used those letters to mollify upset investors, falsely claiming that high-level officials were involved in efforts to ensure the victims were repaid, or to explain why money transfers had been delayed.
A trial date was set for May 2 in Fayetteville.