Man and Sons Charged With Stealing $18 Million in Mail, Wire Fraud Scheme

A Tennessee man, Larry Bates, and his sons, Robert and Charles, are under investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The men have been indicted for carrying on mail and postal fraud that defrauded more than 300 unsuspecting customers out of $18 million dollars.

Larry Bates was a former Tennessee legislator. He was also the CEO of First American Monetary Consultants, Inc. (FAMC) and of Information Radio Network, Inc. (IRN). FAMC was a financial company that bought, sold, and traded precious metals, primarily in gold and silver coins. IRN was a broadcast radio station that offered listeners advice and information on many topics including politics and world economy. Larry’s son Charles Bates served as executive vice president and news director at IRN and economist at FAMC, while Robert also acted as an economist at FAMC.

From May 2002 through October 2013, the Bates men allegedly advised their customers, primarily Christians and the elderly, to buy coins from FAMC. Because the customers thought that FAMC was a moral and upright company, they did as advised. The Bates men would use IRN as a source of marketing as well, urging listeners to invest in gold and silver coins from FAMC. They counseled their listeners to protect themselves from “Mystery Babylon” which they claimed would be a great economic recession.

Once the customers sent in money orders to purchase coins, or sent their old precious metals in to trade, they allegedly heard little more than false promises. Purportedly, the defendants would only fulfill half a customer’s orders, or neglect them all together. According to the indictment, when customers asked about their purchases, they would receive either false promises or radio silence. It is supposed that the Bates used the money and metals to fund their lifestyles and their two companies.

It is alleged that the fraud was targeted to more than just Tennessee. Some of the customers that were allegedly defrauded were in Texas, Alabama, Kansas, Florida, and many more. The Bates are charged with mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. If they are convicted, they can face up to 20 years’ imprisonment along with up to $1 million dollars for each count.

At Meyer Wilson, we believe that you should not be punished for putting your faith and trust in the wrong people. If you or someone you know is a supposed victim of an investment scheme, give us a call today! We can help you try to recover the money you lost.

Ohio Financial Advisor Receives 17.5-year Prison Sentence for Fraud

Richard A. Zakarian, a former certified Ohio financial planner, was recently sentenced to 17.5 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $4.4 million in restitution after he pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and one count of making and subscribing false income tax returns. His financial crimes victimized close to 100 clients, according to U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach.

Zakarian owned and operated many businesses, including a payroll service, and worked as a self-employed tax preparer. All the while, he was running schemes to defraud his clients. One scheme focused on defrauding investors while the other was a fraud scheme against clients of his payroll business. According to Dettelbach, many of Zakarian's victims were non-profits, churches and small businesses.

In a deliberate attempt to defraud, Zakarian manipulated and misled his clients to invest with him from 2002 to 2012. He preyed on many clients from his tax preparation business because he had seen their tax refunds and knew they had money. Zakarian told his clients that their money would be kept secure, and that these investments were guaranteed to deliver a return. In reality, he was taking his clients' funds for the purpose of paying his expenses (both personal and business-related). He also used their money to make high-risk investments, investments for which he had a track record of large losses.

Clients did not receive the guaranteed returns that Zakarian had promised. In fact, 23 of these investors sustained losses in excess of $1 million. He also caused significant harm to many of his clients by failing to submit their tax returns as promised. Dettelbach explained that this tax scheme was an attempt to raise money so that he could cover his tracks from the investment fraud scheme. His goal was to generate profit that was sufficient to pay back his investors, cover his operating expenses, pay his clients' employment taxes and still have money left over. The end result was just the opposite.

If you or someone you know lost money because of a fraud scheme like Zakarian's, contact our firm. Meyer Wilson's founding Attorney David Meyer won a $260 million jury verdict in a class action against Prudential Securities which is believed to be the largest jury verdict in the state of Ohio. Pursuing investor claims and class actions is what we do. Call today to receive a free evaluation of your case.