SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Investors say they were swindled out of $1 million by con artists who said the money “would be used to ‘lease’ a yet larger sum of money, which could then be employed and placed in an investment program.” The investors say they were promised profits of $10 million a week.
The federal complaint lists three corporations and three men as defendants: Soldado Corp. and Gabriel Gonzales Jr., JC Funding Solutions and Jose Israel Castillo Robles, and Brian J. Engel and BJE Inc.
The investors say the defendants showed them a memorandum “purporting to be from senior officers of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.” It was addressed to the investors and appeared to confirm the existence of an HSBC account containing $100 million.
But the documents were forgeries, the defendants never had an “investment program,” and they refuse to return the money, the investors say.
They claim Minnesota’s Commissioner of Commerce issued a cease and desist order in 2007 to Engel and BJE, for selling unregistered investment contracts.
The plaintiffs – two men, a trust and an LLC – demand punitive damages for securities fraud, racketeering and conversion. They are represented by Edward Mitchell.