Swindled $3.9 Million from Unsuspecting Investors
INDIANAPOLIS - September 23, 2015 - United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today the sentencing of a Fishers man who stole millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors, many who lost their life’s savings. John K. Marcum, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson to 66 months in federal prison and remanded to the Bureau of Prisons to begin his sentence immediately.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is cracking down on white collar fraud,” said Minkler. “In order to protect the financial markets of this country, those who lie, cheat, and steal from unsuspecting investors must go to federal prison. Mr. Marcum stole the life’s savings and retirement accounts of his clients to fund a lavish lifestyle. Judge Magnus–Stinson realized this and sent Mr. Marcum directly to federal prison for five and one half years.”
In 2010, Marcum founded the investment firm Guaranty Reserves Trust, LLC (GRT) operating in the Indianapolis area. He promised investors that he would use their money to achieve significant returns by trading securities, stocks and bonds with no fees being charged. Marcum arranged for investors to deposit money into various accounts and self-directed IRA’s which allowed him to control the investors’ money.
From 2010 through 2013 Marcum solicited millions of dollars from 17 investors. Marcum represented himself and GRT to be worth millions of dollars with celebrity clients and traded very conservatively. He promised to earn high rates of return with no risk to the investors’ principle. In reality he failed to invest the money as promised and converted it for personal gain. Marcum comingled the funds to finance a personal line of credit, highly speculative start-up ventures, luxury cars, rent on a Geist-area home, a vacation at a Playboy Club in Los Angeles, California, and other gifts.
At sentencing, one 70 year-old widow told Judge Magnus-Stinson she gave Marcum $600,000 from a lawsuit related to the accidental death of her husband with nothing to show for it. Judge Magnus-Stinson described Marcum’s use of the victim’s money for “vanity business ventures” as typical of the narcissism the court sees in fraud schemes. Six victims testified they will be working for the rest of their lives because Marcum stole their life’s savings.
This was a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation.
W. Jay Abbott, FBI Special Agent in Charge stated, “Investment fraud schemes can take many forms, but ultimately lead to the loss of innocent victims’ hard earned money. There is a persistent need to diligently investigate these types of crimes, and the FBI will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to ensure criminal activity is identified, investigated, and disrupted.”
“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to protecting the American taxpayers by following the money and holding individuals who violate the public trust accountable for their actions,” said IRS Criminal Investigation, Special Agent in Charge Stephen Boyd. Mr. Marcum’s sentencing sends a loud message that defrauding individuals of their hard earned savings will not be tolerated. IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to follow the money and protect the American public.”
According to Winfield D. Ong, Criminal Chief for the United States Attorney’s Office, who prosecuted the case, Marcum must make restitution of $3.9 million to the victims and serve three years of supervised release after his sentence.
Tips for Consumers:
- Be cautious of unsolicited offers to invest.
- Don’t believe everything you’re told. Take time to do your own research on the investment’s potential—and on the person making the offer.
- Be wary of investment opportunities that offer unusually high yields.
- Check with federal and state securities regulators to find out if there are any complaints against the company or person you are considering doing business with.
- Request written financial information—such as a prospectus, annual reports, or financial statements—then compare the written information to what you were told.
- Check with a trusted financial adviser, broker, or attorney about any investments you are considering.
- And if you think you’ve been scammed, report it to the Securities and Exchange Commission, your state’s securities regulator, or a law enforcement agency.
For more information go to www.FBI.gov.
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Indiana
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