Prosecution Asks Court To Impose Life Sentence On Jason Bo-Alan Beckman, Pitchman For Trevor Cook Ponzi Scheme; Beckman Says He Should Serve 364 Days And Then Become A Professional Speaker
EDITOR’S NOTE: The $194 million Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme is believed to be the second-largest scam of its sort in Minnesota history, trailing only Tom Petters’ epic, $3.65 billion caper. Cook was sentenced to 25 years. Prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones now are asking a federal judge to sentence convicted Cook pitchman Jason Bo-Alan Beckman to life in prison — or 411 years. In essence, prosecutors are arguing that Beckman was even worse than Cook, a reprobate drunkard who spent victims’ money on booze, strippers and an enormous mansion, and that Beckman piled on crimes targeted at elderly victims even as he helped Cook steal people into poverty.
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UPDATED 5:20 P.M. ET (U.S.A.) The Trevor Cook Ponzi scheme targeted at senior citizens and conservative Christians never has received the national media attention it deserves. But the Cook case is back in the news today.
Man, is it ever . . .
For starters, it became public yesterday that convicted Cook pitchman Jason Bo-Alan Beckman apparently believes he should spend only 364 days in prison “followed by three years of probation requiring 2000 community service hours.”
While on probation and performing his community service, Beckman contended, he would “devote” himself “to speaking to financial firms and investors about what to do and what not to do.”
And as an extra carrot for a lenient sentence, “Beckman would arrange for the immediate delivery of a check for $19,000,000 for payment to victims.”
The Star Tribune of Minneapolis/St. Paul broke the news this morning about Beckman’s apparent belief he could make multiple felony convictions go away with a wrist slap, by using his checkbook as a lure to victims and by turning himself into a professional speaker on the subject of avoiding the perils of intercontinental financial crime.
One victim who contacted the PP Blog today questioned whether Beckman was having a pipe dream about having $19 million. A court-appointed receiver has been policing up money from the scheme since 2009. Since becoming implicated in the Cook scheme, Beckman has become known for offering up bizarre constructions.
He “had the temerity to testify that the money he stole from” an elderly couple “constituted his ‘earnings,'” prosecutors said yesterday. And he also divined a construction by which he was the “top ranked” portfolio manager in the United States “based on a Morningstar comparative study,” they asserted.
To say the prosecution wasn’t impressed by Beckman’s opinion on how justice might best be served perhaps is the greatest understatement in the history of Ponzi-scheme prosecutions worldwide.
Beckman, 42, deserves life in prison — or, as a technical matter 4,932 months or 411 years, according to prosecutors.
“Mr. Beckman is a man with no semblance of a conscience who exudes in his conduct and affairs a sense of great entitlement,” prosecutors argued. “Entitlement to make untrue, grandiose claims about himself. Entitlement to groom the trust of vulnerable persons and then to violate that trust. Entitlement to steal his victims’ money and to use it for luxury items for himself. Entitlement to misuse professionals to cloak his schemes with a skein of legitimacy. Entitlement, when caught, to lie to everybody – the press, his victims, hired attorneys, and this Court – doggedly and repeatedly, about what he knew and when he knew it. To all that appears, Mr. Beckman’s entire life has been deeply suffused with sociopathy. In Mr. Beckman’s mind, the rules simply do not apply to him.”
In 2011, the SEC memorably described Beckman as guilty of “contumacious disobedience” for his manipulation of victims and the courts. The SEC made the claim after criminal prosecutors asserted that Beckman stole millions of dollars from an elderly husband and wife now in their nineties and tried to make it appear as though the wife — a stroke victim with “hemispheric paralysis” — had become his business partner.
Beckman sold two life-insurance policies on the woman’s “then 92-year old husband” for about $3.9 million, and then converted “the proceeds of that sale for his own benefit,” prosecutors alleged last year.
As a companion fraud scheme that flowed from Beckman’s role in the Cook Ponzi, Beckman tried to dupe the National Hockey League in a deal that would make him a part owner of the Minnesota Wild, prosecutors said.
And even as he was stealing from people now in their nineties and confined to a nursing home while trying to run a scam on the NHL and his own attorneys, Beckman “almost completely wiped out the Arthur W. Quiggle [Family] Trust,” prosecutors said.
“In 2007, without authorization, he sold $3.4 million of its low-basis, high-dividend paying stock, funneling the proceeds to the currency program,” prosecutors said. “This triggered enormous capital gains within the trust and wiped out most of the trust’s dividend income, which defeated the trust’s purpose of providing income to the Quiggle family. Then, in July of 2008, just weeks after several attorneys warned Mr. Beckman that the currency program was illegal and a likely Ponzi scheme, Mr. Beckman caused the trust to borrow $3.7 million against its remaining marketable stocks and stole all of it. Again, much of it ended up paying off huge deficits incurred in Mr. Beckman’s name at various trading houses to buoy his chances of becoming an owner of the Wild.”
Beckman is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 3.