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Fayetteville Investment Banker Faces Guilty Verdict in $18M Fraud Case

3 min read

Nearly two years ago, John Nock professed his innocence after his arrest in the wake of a 12-count federal indictment for criminal fraud. In that same brief telephone interview with Arkansas Business, Nock said “it will all be resolved.”

A guilty verdict on all 12 counts at his jury trial was not the resolution the 55-year-old Fayetteville investment banker was expecting on Aug. 31, 2023.

“These offenses stem from the defendant’s role leading an extensive international wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy over eight years that involved more than $26 million in intended losses and caused more than $18 million in actual losses,” the government noted in its sentencing memorandum filed publicly on Jan. 25.

The case revolved around the Brittingham Group, which Nock founded and which promised returns as high as 300% within 20 to 30 days. The frauds occurred during 2013-21 and often involved bogus standby letters of credit from the Royal Bank of Scotland in London.

Federal prosecutors have asked that Nock be sentenced to between 27 years and nearly 33 years in prison when he appears before Judge Timothy Brooks in Fayetteville’s U.S. District Court. A sentencing hearing scheduled for last week was postponed, and a new sentencing date had not been set.

Nock asked for a sentence below the guideline range because he is less likely to reoffend because of his age and lack of a prior criminal record. He also asked the intended loss figure be excluded from consideration for sentencing. That figure includes $7.5 million that customers placed in attorney escrow accounts but later recouped because the proposed investments didn’t move forward.

In addition to incarceration, federal prosecutors seek a forfeiture money judgment of $707,950, representing the amount Nock personally gained in the fraud as supported by bank records and other evidence.

The government requested joint and several restitution of $18.6 million that extended to Nock and his three co-conspirators who were also found guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

That trio consists of Californian Brian Brittsan and Utah residents Kevin Griffith and Alexander Ituma. Brittsan and Ituma remained free on bond after their conviction.

Nock has resided in the Washington County Detention Center since Aug. 31 when his $10,000 bond was revoked. During his testimony at trial, Griffith disclosed receiving a pension payout of $96,635 from Verizon during the summer of 2022 and disposing of those assets in violation of his bond.

Courtroom Timeline

► March 2, 2022: A federal grand jury hands down a 12-count criminal indictment against John Nock of Fayetteville for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, nine counts of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Also named in the indictment are Brian Brittsan of San Marcos, California; Kevin Griffith of Orem, Utah; and Alexander Ituma of Lehi, Utah.

► March 23: Nock is arrested and arraigned. He and the other defendants plead not guilty, and a jury trial for all four defendants is scheduled for May 2, 2022. Following motions for continuance by Griffith and Brittsan, the trial is rescheduled a third time for Aug. 21, 2023.

► June 26, 2023: Nock files a motion under seal to replace his court-appointed attorney, Kenneth L. Osborne of Fayetteville.

► June 30: His motion is denied.

► Aug. 21-25 and 28-31: A jury is seated, and the trial moves forward. The case goes to the jury Aug. 30, and a verdict of guilty on all counts is returned against all four defendants on Aug. 31.

► Sept. 13: Nock himself files motions for a new trial and the appointment of a new attorney for a possible appeal. He claims possession of hours of audio recordings that weren’t introduced as important evidence during the trial. Federal prosecutors counter that if that is true, Nock should have turned those over when he was served with the grand jury subpoena to produce all records associated with his business.

► Sept. 26: Tim Snively of Fayetteville is named as his new court-appointed attorney. Later, Nock’s motion for a new trial is denied, and a sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 8, 2024.

► Jan. 25, 2024: Nock’s lawyer files a motion for a continuance of the sentencing hearing, later denied.

► Feb. 6: The sentencing hearing is postponed, with a new date not yet set.

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