A federal jury in the Western District of Arkansas convicted four men yesterday for their lead roles in an investment fraud and money laundering conspiracy that cheated victims out of more than $18 million.
“The defendants abused their positions of trust to entice victims into parting with more than $18 million,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The defendants then used their financial backgrounds to systematically launder the money through a web of international bank accounts. This case stands as a stark message to those who defraud others for their personal gain: you will be found, you will be prosecuted, and you will be convicted.”
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, between at least 2013 and 2021, John C. Nock, 55, of Fayetteville, Arkansas; Brian Brittsan, 67, of San Marcos, California; Kevin Griffith, 67, of Orem, Utah; and Alexander Ituma, 57, of Lehi, Utah, conspired to engage in an investment fraud scheme through an entity known as “The Brittingham Group,” which Nock founded. Together, the four defendants falsely represented the nature of their investment offerings and promised outsize returns to victims that, in reality, the defendants could not and did not produce. To promote and conceal the conspiracy, Nock and Brittsan directed victims to send their money to bank accounts that Griffith, Ituma, and other co-conspirators controlled. Once the money was in the hands of the co-conspirators, the defendants transferred victim money through a complex web of worldwide bank accounts.
“Plain and simple, these four individuals ran a fraudulent scheme. They falsely represented the nature of their business and lied about potential investment returns to bilk unsuspecting victims out of more than $18 million,” said IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Chief Jim Lee. “I commend the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section who prosecuted the case, and our special agents and partners at the FBI uncovered the complex web of financial transactions that led to the defendants’ convictions yesterday.”
“The conviction of these defendants sends a strong message to criminals committing financial crimes. A single scam can destroy a company, devastate families by wiping out their life savings, or cost investors millions of dollars,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI would like to remind investors to be diligent and gather as much information as possible before making any investment. The FBI will continue to work aggressively with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who break the law and violate public trust.”
The jury convicted each defendant of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The defendants face a maximum of 20 years in prison on each count. The jury also convicted Nock of money laundering for which he faces a maximum of 10 years in prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set. A federal district court judge will determine any sentences after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
IRS-CI and the FBI investigated the case. U.S. Attorney David Clay Fowlkes and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Arkansas provided invaluable assistance.
Trial Attorneys Philip Trout, Vasanth Sridharan, and Sara A. Hallmark of Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.
Official news published at https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/four-men-convicted-18m-global-investment-fraud-scheme