California Man Appears in Houston on Fraud Charges
Tuesday, October 07 2014 @ 07:46 AM EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Springer is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to launder funds and securities fraud. The superseding indictment, returned Oct. 1, 2014, also names co-defendant John Patrick Acord, 71, formerly of Magnolia. Springer made his initial appearance today and was permitted release upon posting bond, while Acord remains in custody.
The defendants allegedly operated a Ponzi scheme through their company called Intermodal Wealth. The company allegedly promised 13-16% per year guaranteed returns for investors who purchased shipping containers from the company. Investors would purchase the containers and the company was supposed to then lease them to others to generate income, according to the charges. However, Intermodal actually owned very few containers and none were leased.
To continue the scheme, the defendants allegedly provided investors with some monies, but these were generated through new investors rather than from actually leasing the containers.
The Texas State Securities Board eventually obtained an injunction against the defendants from operating the company due to the Ponzi scheme nature of the business and for not disclosing relevant court filings and judgments to investors.
According to the indictment, Springer began as a salesman for Intermodal. Following a cease and desist order against Intermodal, Springer then allegedly formed his own company called World Container in an effort to continue under the same business model. The indictment accuses Springer of misleading investors by reporting that World Container was not associated with Intermodal Wealth. He also allegedly misled investors by stating World Container was his company and that he would use their money to purchase shipping containers and lease them on their behalf. According to the indictment, Springer actually sent the investors’ money to Jones and Acord in Panama and was paid a commission for the sale.
The indictment also alleges that Springer failed to disclose material facts to investors in the sale of the securities as required under federal law.
The total loss in relation to this scheme is estimated at approximately $10 million.
If convicted, Springer and Acord face up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the funds laundered.
Steven Patrick Jones, 50, formerly of Kingwood, was also charged in relation to this scheme. He has already pleaded guilty and is set for sentencing Dec. 18, 2014.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case with the assistance of the Texas State Securities Board and Houston Police Department Auto Theft Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman.
Editor's Comment: I had one source who told me John Patrick Acord had been arrested in Panama, but since there there was no follow-up reporting by US media. Therefore, I suspect my source was either wrong, misinformed, lying to me, or just yanking my chain. So therefore, Acord is probably still a fugitive hiding from justice in Panama.