☷Founders of Fake Hedge Fund Plead Guilty to Federal Charges for Orchestrating a $4 Million Ponzi Scheme
Federal Bureau of Investigation ( By Press Release office)
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Founders Of Fake Hedge Fund Plead Guilty To Federal Charges For Orchestrating A $4 Million Ponzi Scheme CHARLOTTE , N . C . – The founders of a fake “hedge fund” appeared in court today and pleaded guilty to federal charges for orchestrating a $4 million Ponzi scheme , announced Dena J . King , U . S . Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina . Austin Delano Page , 26 , of Grover , N . C . , pleaded guilty to wire fraud , and Brandon Alexander Teague , 26 , of Belmont , N . C . , pleaded guilty to securities fraud . U . S . Magistrate Judge David C . Keesler accepted the defendants’ guilty pleas . North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine F . Marshall , Robert R . Wells , Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ( FBI ) , Charlotte Division , and Tommy D . Coke , Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the U . S . Postal Inspection Service ( USPIS ) , which oversees Charlotte , join U . S . Attorney King in making today’s announcement . According to filed plea documents and the plea hearings , from October 2020 to December 2021 , Page and Teague engaged in an investment scheme that defrauded hundreds of investors , some of whom were at or near retirement age , of more than $4 million . Court documents show that the defendants falsely represented to victims that Page and Teague were running a hedge fund in Kings Mountain , N . C . , D&T Investment Group ( D&T ) , that invested in various securities , including stock of well - known companies like Apple . Contrary to representations made to victim investors , D&T was not a hedge fund and it did not hold any securities licenses or registrations . Also , Page and Teague were not licensed to sell securities and did not have a background associated with the sale of securities . In fact , prior to orchestrating the investment scheme the defendants sold campers . According to court documents and admissions made in court , Page and Teague required investors to sign , among other documents , an investment contract with D&T . These documents contained false information , including that D&T would guarantee 100% of the investors’ initial investment , and that investors would receive 70% of the trading profits . In reality , the investors’ money was not guaranteed , and the purported “profits” investors received were Ponzi - style payments , whereby the defendants used new investors’ money to make payments to existing investors . To cover up the fraud , Page and Teague sent victim investors monthly statements that reflected fictitious trading gains . When certain investors and D&T employees began to question the legitimacy of D&T’s operations , Page created fictitious screenshots of various financial accounts that reflected inflated D&T account balances . For example , Page created a fake screenshot of a D&T brokerage account that reflected a balance of over $16 , 000 , 000 , when in reality the account had a balance of less than $7 . 00 . Contrary to representations made to victims , their money was not generally invested in securities . In addition to making Ponzi payments to investors , a significant portion of the funds was used to pay excessive salaries and other compensation to D&T employees , including to members of Page’s family . For example , Page paid several D&T employees annual salaries of over $100 , 000 and also paid certain employees several thousand dollars each for getting the D&T company logo tattooed on their bodies . The defendants also squandered victims’ money on personal expenses such as clothing , jewelry , travel , luxury car rentals , and to make cash withdrawals . On December 2 , 2021 , as the fraudulent scheme was collapsing , the defendants traveled to Italy . On the same day , Page informed D&T employees , who did not know that D&T was a fraud , that they would be closing the company . The pair was arrested on New Year’s Eve at JFK Airport in New York upon their voluntary return to the United States . The defendants were released on bond with home detention and location monitoring following the plea hearings . Page pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud , which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years and a $250 , 000 fine . Teague pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud , which carries a maximum prison term of five years and a $250 , 000 fine . A sentencing date for the defendants has not been set . In making today’s announcement U . S . Attorney King thanked the Securities Division of the North Carolina Secretary of State , the FBI and USPIS for their investigation of the case . Assistant U . S . Attorney Daniel Ryan of the U . S . Attorney’s Office in Charlotte , is in charge of the prosecution .
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