LAS VEGAS (KXNT) – A Las Vegas man was sentenced Monday to 24 months in prison for his role in a $3.2 million advance fee scheme to fraudulently obtain money from victims seeking business loans, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Steven W. Myhre for the District of Nevada.
62 year old Ronald Gene Morgan, pleaded guilty in February to one count of wire fraud. In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan sentenced Morgan to three years of supervised release. Morgan agreed to pay $3,000,382 in restitution to victims of the fraud scheme.
According to the plea agreement, from March 2009 to April 2011, Morgan and others operated Argent Asset Management and Argent Securities, an Illinois-incorporated company and a Florida-incorporated company, respectively. Morgan admitted that he falsely promised victims in Las Vegas and elsewhere that he would provide business loans by using Argent Assets to acquire bank-issued bonds at a discount and re-sell the bonds at face value to an investor, thereby producing hundreds of millions of dollars.
As part of the scheme, Morgan lulled the victims by creating and sending false communications and documents depicting escrow account balances containing millions of dollars held on behalf of the clients. He knew that no such funds were held in escrow. He required victims to pay substantial fees in advance of obtaining the loans and told the victims that their funds would be held in escrow, would be refunded if the loans were not obtained, and would be used to obtain the loans. He knew that Argent Securities had no assets. Morgan used the fees paid by victims for his own personal use, to recruit other victims, and to repay portions of other victims fees in order to conceal the fraud scheme.