NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Two people were convicted Friday in a nationwide investment fraud scheme that caused losses of more than $25 million for more than 300 victims, many of whom were elderly.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice news release, Daryl Bank, 51, of Port St. Lucie, Florida, ran the scheme from January 2012 to July 2017.
The scheme was based in the eastern Virginia region and Port St. Lucie and was aided by including attorney Billy Seabolt, 56, Raeann Gibson, 49, of Florida, and Roger Hudspeth 51, of Suffolk.
Seabolt has offices under Family Wealth Law Group in Williamsburg.
According to the Department of Justice, the group deceived hundreds of unsuspecting investors, most of whom were at or near retirement age, by convincing them to invest in companies owned and controlled by Bank.
Bank, who formerly owned a Virginia Beach investment company, directed co-conspirators to steal significant portions of investment contributions to fund their criminal enterprise and “Bank’s lavish lifestyle.”
Bank was a registered securities broker in 2010 and was barred from the securities industry at that time. However, after that, he went on to operate a private equity company called Dominion Private Client Group to sell unregistered securities through insurance salespeople. That company had offices in Virginia Beach and in Port St. Lucie.
Seabolt was Bank’s legal counsel and helped develop many of the fraudulent investments and corporations, the Department of Justice said.
Many of the investments were made after the conspirators made “material misrepresentations and omissions to sell illiquid, highly speculative investment vehicles.”
Some investors cashed out 401k and other retirement accounts to invest in Bank’s scheme. However, Banks immediately would transfer 20-70% of those investment funds into companies he controlled in the form of “purported fees.”
Victims lost more than $25 million.
Bank was convicted of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, selling unregistered securities, securities fraud, and money laundering. He faces more 300 years in prison when sentenced on Sept. 20.
Seabolt was convicted of conspiracy and mail fraud, and faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison when sentenced on Sept.15.
Sentences are typically less than the maximum penalty.
Gibson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in February 2020. Hudspeth pleaded guilty to investment advisor fraud and money laundering and was sentenced to over 12 years in prison in May 2018.
“As proven during a four-week trial, these defendants and their co-conspirators defrauded hundreds of unsuspecting investors out of over $25 million, draining their retirement accounts and leaving a trail of financial and emotional devastation for the victims,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The jury’s verdicts bring us one step closer to securing justice for the victims of these damaging, manipulative, and life-altering schemes.”