The federal courthouse in Salt Lake City is pictured on Feb. 18, 2020. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Promoting a “revolutionary” technology to turn dirt into gold landed three men from Utah and California in federal prison for stealing some $8 million from mostly older investors.
Two of those involved in the scam, Marc Andrew Tager, 55, of Sandy, and Jonathon Edward Shoucair, 69, of North Hills, California, met in prison while serving time for previous fraud convictions.
Tager, Shoucair and Matthew Earl Mangum, 51, of South Jordan, acted as leaders of the scheme and told investors they had created a plan to make money by extracting gold from dirt using a revolutionary process developed by Mangum, who was held out as an expert in metallurgy and the refining of precious metals.
They told people that they controlled a proprietary, breakthrough nanotechnology that used environmentally friendly means to pull microscopic particles of gold from dirt.
A fourth man, Kenneth Stephen Gross, 75, of Porter Ranch, California, cold-called potential investors through a telemarketing company and passed interested people on to Tager and Shoucair, according to federal prosecutors.
The men told investors their money would pay for space, equipment, materials and labor to develop Mangum’s process into a large scale, highly profitable business that would generate huge returns. But prosecutors say the funds were only partially used to support the business, which was never profitable.
As part of the scam, Tager, Mangum and Shoucair formed Jersey Consulting and created a marketing website for the business.
On the website, they claimed that Jersey owned an 80-acre mining claim with a substantial amount of mineral rich ore and that their mining technology could achieve 20 times the yield of traditional mining at a fraction of the cost. They told investors that they would see 100% returns on their money in 12 months.
Since 2014, the men raised more than $8 from about 140 investors, the majority of whom were over age 65.
Prosecutors say Tager, Mangum and Shoucair spent $3 million on themselves and paid telemarketers, including Gross, another $2 million. The remainder covered “potentially legitimate” business expenses incurred by Jersey, according to prosecutors.
Last week, a federal judge sentenced Tager to 43 months prison for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, money laundering, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Tager was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in 2005 …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Utah News