Defendant pretended to be former Navy SEAL
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Edward I. Campbell, 41, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 60 months in prison for charges related to a $1.4 million investment fraud scheme that defrauded at least 44 individuals.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, and Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.
According to court documents, between July 2011 and June 2013, Campbell operated an investment business known as Rosewood Consulting LLC in Baltimore, Ohio. Campbell told victims their contributions would be invested through Rosewood Consulting into two types of investment programs: historical bonds issued by China and the exchange of Bougainville Kina – illegal currency from the autonomous region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea – into U.S. dollars.
Campbell represented that he had access to a trading platform in which he could monetize gold-backed bonds issued by China in 1913 for a very high return. Campbell offered to sell the historical bonds to investors for $10,000 to $15,000 each for a promised return on investment of anywhere from $50,000 to upwards of possibly $10 million per bond within 10 to 60 days.
Campbell also offered to exchange the Bougainville Kina, which he allegedly possessed, into U.S. dollars if the investors hired him for a $100,000 fee. The investors were supposed to receive a return of $1.5 million or more within 10 to 120 days.
Campbell told investors that their investments were refundable if the returns were not paid within the provided timeframes. In addition, he told investors that he had prior success with these investment programs, was a former Navy SEAL, once worked in an investment house, had traveled internationally closing deals and he had nearly 600 investors.
The investigation revealed that none of the investors received the returns on their investments that Campbell had promised. Only a few of the 44 investors have been refunded the money they paid for his services and those refunds were paid for with other investors’ funds.
Campbell usually depleted the funds he received from investors shortly after receiving them, by using the funds for personal expenses, including the purchase of two automobiles and expenses at hotels and restaurants.
To appease investors regarding delays in paying them the returns on their investments, Campbell represented that their money was being held up by various United States agencies and or catastrophes to his family or other individuals who were important for these deals to be completed.
For example, Campbell told investors his niece was a student and had been shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but later changed his story when the names of the school-shooting victims were released to the public. He also fabricated that his attorney’s daughter had been in a motorcycle accident.
Campbell pleaded guilty on September 21, 2017 to charges of money laundering and wire fraud. As part of his plea agreement, Campbell agreed to pay $1,408,854 in restitution.
“Campbell blatantly and repeatedly lied to and violated the trust placed in him by the individuals who invested with him,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “Besides falsely representing experience and expertise, he told contemptable lies about a tragic incident.”
“When you knowingly mix deceit and trickery into the financial well-being of individuals, you create a recipe for devastation that could last a lifetime,” said Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office. “Today’s sentencing demonstrates how federal law enforcement will band together to help put an end to the criminal behavior of those who prey on investors for their personal financial gain. IRS Criminal investigators will continue to use their financial expertise to identify and trace laundered funds in these types of investor fraud schemes.”
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI and IRS, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Jessica H. Kim, who represented the United States in this case.