Admits Falsifying Financial Statements – Used Investor Money for Own Expenses
A long-time investment advisor in Redmond, Washington pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Seattle to defrauding some 15 investors of more than $3 million, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. DENNIS GIBB, 72, the President and owner of Sweetwater Investments Inc., pleaded guilty to wire fraud and falsification of records with the intent to obstruct a matter within the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Simultaneously, GIBB and Sweetwater investment entered into a consent decree with the SEC liquidating the Sweetwater Income Flood LP Fund and barring GIBB from further investment activity. Chief U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez scheduled sentencing in the criminal case for June 28, 2019.
“Sadly, this defendant sold his investors a dream of a safe retirement, representing that he would use a sophisticated investment strategy, including investing in government bonds, to produce stable returns. Instead, Dennis Gibb used investor funds to pay business expenses for Sweetwater Investments, as well as mortgage and car payments and other living expenses,” said U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. “He told investors there was $7.8 million in the fund – the reality was there was less than $2 million. The investors no longer have the safe retirement income they were promised.”
According to the criminal case filings and the SEC consent decree, GIBB created Sweetwater Income Flood Limited Partnership, a private fund Gibb managed, in 2008. As early as 2007, he began soliciting investors for the fund targeting those who wanted steady retirement income in the near future. According to the SEC between 2007 and 2018, about 20 investors put about $7.3 million into the fund. GIBB secretly transferred more than $3.1 million from the fund for his own expenses. To hide his theft, GIBB sent investors falsified quarterly account statements. When the SEC began an examination of the Sweetwater Investments in May 2018, GIBB provided false records to examiners indicating the fund had been liquidated.
In his plea agreement GIBB agrees to forfeit a money judgment in the amount of $3,197,401. Gibb will also owe full restitution for the amount he stole. The government will recommend that any money collected on the money judgment go toward the defendant’s restitution obligation. The SEC is ordering GIBB to liquidate the approximately $1.8 million remaining in the Income Flood Fund and provide it to the SEC for disbursement to victims.
Wire fraud is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Falsification of records is punishable by up to three years in prison. Prosecutors have agreed to recommend no more than 78 months in prison. The court is not bound by the recommendation, the sentence will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was investigated by the SEC and the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Diggs.
The SEC order is available here.