The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced on May 23, 2018 that a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin indicted James A. Nickels of Manitowoc, Wisconsin on eighteen counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
Prosecutors said Nickels was indicted for allegedly operating his company, The Fiscal Concierge LLC, as a Ponzi scheme from approximately September 2006 through August 2017. According to public records, Nickels founded The Fiscal Concierge in 2006 and solely owns and controls it.
The indictment states Nickels induced his victims to purchase $5 million in promissory notes in The Fiscal Concierge by promising to repay their principal investment plus interest. However, Nickels used investors’ funds to pay his personal expenses and he concealed his scheme by using money from new investors to pay other investors what he falsely claimed was principal and interest on their notes, said prosecutors.
Nichels faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and $250,000 of fines on each of the eighteen counts of wire fraud and 10 years and $250,000 on the money laundering charge.
Nickels was previously accused of operating the Fiscal Concierge as a Ponzi scheme. In December 2016, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions (WDFI) obtained an order for Nickels to repay $3.6 million to investors who purchased promissory notes in the Financial Concierge. The WDFI order issued at that time stated Nickels sold the notes to 35 Wisconsin residents in a Ponzi scheme.
Ponzi schemes were named after a notorious scheme orchestrated by Charles Ponzi. They frequently involve perpetrators selling investors securities in the form of promissory notes in companies the perpetrators own and control. The securities are usually not registered with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission or state securities departments. The perpetrators promise investors guaranteed high rates of return on their investment. Often, investors are also misled to believe their investment is secured by property, such as real estate.
A red flag of such frauds is individuals who are not registered to sell securities guaranteeing investors high rates of returns on securities that are not registered with the Securities Exchange Commission or a state securities regulator. Investors should be extremely wary of guarantees of returns on investments.
Marquardt Law Office LLC is a securities law firm located in Chicago, IL that represents clients nationwide who have suffered losses due to misconduct such as fraud or negligence. Contact the firm if you believe that you may have been the victim of an investment fraud, such as a Ponzi scheme.