Donald Manning, President Of Purported Offshore Investment Firm, Faces 10 Years In Prison, $500,000 Fine

BLOG UPDATE 8:51 P.M. EST (U.S.A.):

We’ve updated this post to note that Donald Manning, who pleaded guilty yesterday to running a Ponzi scheme, was captured in February 2008 — in Nicaragua.

Cameron Campbell, a Manning Ponzi co-defendant, is a former attorney from La Jolla, Calif. See an FBI news release at the bottom of this post.

Here, now, our earlier post . . .

There has been considerable chatter in the autosurf world recently that incorporating offshore protects owners and participants from prosecution.

Don’t tell that to Donald Manning. He was president of a purported investment company incorporated in the Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands.

Now Manning faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 after pleading guilty to running a Ponzi scheme, wire fraud and conspiring against the United States. The guilty plea was entered in U.S. District Court in San Diego after an investigation by federal and state agencies, including the FBI and the Arizona Department of Corporations.

The Brixon Group defrauded numerous investors, including senior citizens and members of Manning’s own family members, prosecutors said.

An alleged co-conspirator, meanwhile,  has gone missing. The FBI is seeking Joseph Wayne McCool, and is asking the public for assistance in locating him.

U.S. Attorney Karen P. Hewitt announced the Manning guilty plea. Manning will be sentenced in April by U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz.

Prosecuting attorneys William Cole and John Owens said Manning ran a Ponzi scheme at Brixon Group.

“Along with co-conspirators Joseph Wayne McCool and Cameron Campbell, Manning recruited retirees and members of his own family to invest millions of dollars in the Brixon Group,” the FBI said in a news release. “Manning told investors that the Brixon Group guaranteed large, guaranteed returns and that the investments were risk free. Manning also told investors that part of their investment would go toward humanitarian efforts overseas and that co-defendant McCool was a banking expert who, prior to working with Brixon, had successfully managed a large private trust in Europe.”

Manning admitted that he and his co-conspirators concealed from investors “that most of the money invested in Brixon would not be placed into investments and that new funds received from investors would be used to make payments to earlier investors,” prosecutors said.

“Manning further admitted that, through the Brixon scheme, he and his co-conspirators converted much of the investors’ money to their own personal use.

Cameron Campbell previously pleaded guilty and is serving a 63-month sentence in federal prison.

McCool, however, has gone missing.

“Law enforcement continues to seek the public’s assistance in locating Joseph Wayne McCool, whose whereabouts are currently unknown,” the FBI said.

See this case information on the case from the Arizona Corporation Commission.

See this news release on Cameron Campbell from U.S. Attorney Karen Hewitt of the Southern District of California.

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