Some people have innate gifts. In the case of MARK WAYNE JASTER it must have been the power of persuasion, as this Texarkana, Texas man was successful at persuading investors to give him over $1.1 million dollars to invest.
PROBLEM: He invested none of it. Not one red cent! His skill to persuade was used in a misguided way and now he’s set to reap the rewards of his choices. Every choice has a consequence. In the case of MARK WAYNE JASTER, United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced that 48-year-old Texarkana, Texas man, JASTER, has been sentenced to 78 months in federal prison for wire fraud.
MARK WAYNE JASTER was indicted on April 3, 2007 and charged with defrauding investors through a wire fraud scheme. He pleaded guilty to that charge on August 29, 2007 and was sentenced today to 78 months in federal prison by United States District Judge David Folsom. Jaster was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,134,623.30.
According to information presented in court, between 2002 and 2005, Jaster represented to investors that he was involved in the business of personal investment services. Jaster told those investors that he actively managed money through his InvestWise account at A.G. Edwards and Sons, Inc. in Texarkana, Texas. He claimed that through investing in various investments such as real estate, stocks, mutual funds, and pension funds, he achieved significant returns for his investors.
NOTE: There are many great investments out there, but, when someone tells you that they get great returns for their clients – “here, invest you money with me! Well, beware – there’s a fair chance it’s a scam. Use your common sense and check the investor out. It’s too easy these days to do that with the internet.
Jaster had some investors deposit money directly into his Mark Jaster DBA InvestWise account at Hibernia Bank. However, instead of using the money for investments, he would use it for his own personal expenses. Jaster had other investors open accounts at A.G. Edwards for the purpose of depositing funds for investments. After gaining signatory authority over these accounts, Jaster would then transfer the funds to his InvestWise account at A.G. Edwards to be used for his personal expenses.
During this time, Jaster would speak with the investors, advising them that their investments had grown significantly, and would send e-mails to the investors with false representations as to the status of their investments and legitimacy of the investments. None of the money Jaster received from investors was ever invested.
NOTE: If you’ve invested your money with an investment representative you should be able to get your account status on-line or at a minimum verify the investment status with someone other than the person who took your money to invest.
COMMENT: As a former white collar criminal (not something I am proud of) I did essentially the same thing as JESTER. I took clients money – used it for personal purposes (lifestyle) and ended up in exactly the same spot. Had either the clients done their “due diligence” by checking me and the investment I was representing out, or had they checked with someone other than me about the status of their investment, they would have found out the truth. In fact, the fraud was uncovered when ONE client sought information about his investment from someone other than me.
Every choice has a consequence. I am living proof that you do reap what you sow. And while JESTER is headed for prison, there is hope that he might learn from this experience. Today, as a speaker, I address college kids in business schools for free – it’s my way of warning them about the law of choices and consequences. This service was recently reported on in Business Week. See the article here.
For information on my presentations to colleges and universities or business associations, contact me at www.chuckgallagher.com.