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4 Sentenced Over $8 Million Scheme That Promised To Turn Dirt Into Gold

4 Sentenced Over $8 Million Scheme That Promised To Turn Dirt Into Gold

Four people, two from Utah and California, have been sentenced for their role in an $8 million telemarketing fraud scheme that promised investors that their business could extract gold from dirt.

How It Unfolded: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, beginning in 2014 about 140 investors paid over $8 million to the defendants' company, Jersey Consulting, LLC. The investors were promised they would receive 100% returns on their money in a year.

The investors were told Matthew Earl Mangum, 51, of Utah, was an expert metallurgist who had developed a revolutionary gold extraction process.

Mangum was one of the people sentenced. The others were 75-year-old Kenneth Stephen Gross from California, 69-year-old Jonathan Edward Shoucair also from California, and 55-year-old Marc Andrew Tager from Utah, according to a press release yesterday from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Utah.

They created a marketing website, and on the site, they claimed that Jersey owned an 80-acre mining claim with a substantial amount of mineral-rich ore. The men raised the money through a telemarketing strategy.

Investors were also told that their money would be secured by the physical assets Jersey owned and, should the business fail, and investors would have priority over these assets.

They were also told their money was needed to pay for space, equipment, materials, and labor.

Out of $8 million, $3 million was spent for the personal benefit of Tager, Mangum, and Shoucair. Another $2 million was paid to telemarketers. 

Investigators estimated that only $3 million of the investors' funds were used to pay for potentially legitimate business expenses incurred by Jersey.

Modus Operandi: Gross was in charge of calling potential investors and passing the information of interested parties to Shoucair and Tager of Sandy to obtain funds from the targets.

According to court officials, what investors did not know is that two of the men, Tager and Shoucair, had met while serving multi-year federal prison sentences together for previous fraud-related convictions.

Tager, convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud in 2005, met Shoucair, who was serving a sentence for running a $50 million telemarketing fraud.

Tager, Shoucair and Mangum came together to form Jersey Consulting and created a marketing website for the business.

Sentencing: Tager, Shoucair, Mangum and Gross have all been sentenced in federal court.

Tager was sentenced on April 14, 2021, to 43 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, money laundering and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Shoucair was sentenced on October 23, 2020, to 72 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and money laundering.

On November 18, 2020, Mangum was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering.

And Gross was sentenced on January 16, 2020, to 24 months of probation for failing to disclose to federal authorities that he had knowledge that securities fraud was occurring.

Image by Linda Hamilton from Pixabay.


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