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4 Convicted in $18M Investment Fraud Scheme

2 min read

A federal jury in Arkansas has convicted four men for their roles in an $18 million investment fraud and money laundering scheme.

The Brittingham Group, founded by Fayetteville investment banker John Nock, 55, promised returns as high as 300% within 20 to 30 days, according to authorities. But in reality, the group could not and did not produce those returns on their investment offerings.

A federal indictment alleges that Nock and his business associate, Brian Brittsan, 67, of San Marcos, California, promised “structured” financial transactions involving standby letters of credit, known as SBLCs, along with 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, and guaranteed the safety of investors’ principal payments through fraudulent letters on third-party letterheads.

Authorities said Nock and Brittsan directed victims to send their money to bank accounts that were controlled by co-conspirators Kevin Griffith, 67, of Otem, Utah, and Alexander Ituma, 57, of Lehi, Utah. The money was then transferred through a complex web of global bank accounts.

To reassure upset investors, the four would occasionally fabricate letters from government agencies falsely claiming efforts were underway to ensure the victims were repaid, or to explain why money transfers had been delayed.

Each of the four defendants was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count.

The jury also convicted Nock of money laundering, for which he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison.

A sentencing date has not yet been set.

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