A fugitive monetary advisor is going through new costs from the Justice Division, greater than 2 1/2 years after he initially disappeared.
This week, a federal grand jury in Georgia charged Christopher Burns with 10 counts of wire fraud, two counts of mail fraud and 4 counts of cash laundering associated to a scheme during which he allegedly stole $10 million from dozens of shoppers, in line with the DOJ.
U.S Lawyer Ryan Buchanan stated Burns had violated his shoppers’ belief to “fund his lavish life-style,” and stated the FBI had been persevering with the seek for Burns, who disappeared in September 2020.
“He betrayed traders and stole their financial savings with guarantees of secure investments that might yield excessive charges of returns,” he stated. “People who overtly cheat their shoppers ought to anticipate to be held accountable.”
The small print within the DOJ indictment mirror Securities and Trade Fee costs filed in November 2020, shortly after Burns went on the run. In line with the DOJ and SEC filings, Burns ran his personal agency, Investus Advisers, within the Atlanta space. Within the a number of years earlier than he disappeared, Burns raised his profile by buying radio time for “The Chris Burns Present,” advertising his monetary recommendation.
Beginning in early 2017, Burns beneficial his shoppers to purchase promissory notes, claiming the merchandise had been a part of a “peer-to-peer” program to lend small companies capital. Burns claimed the notes held little threat, and he personally assured them towards losses, in line with the SEC.
However the lending program was a sham, in line with the DOJ; Burns by no means loaned any of the cash to small companies, and as a substitute used it to fund his life-style, together with extra airtime for his self-titled radio present. However by September 2020, Burns offered greater than 70 promissory notes to no less than 40 traders in Georgia, North Carolina and Florida, elevating greater than $10 million.
The speed of promissory observe gross sales elevated within the months main as much as his disappearance, however regulators had been getting suspicious. In line with the SEC, Burns knew he was beneath investigation, and Investus Advisers was scheduled to provide paperwork to the regulator on Sept. 24, 2020.
The day earlier than, Burns filed paperwork to divorce his spouse Meredith, awarding her their boat, house and all its contents, signing a quitclaim deed granting the house to his spouse for $10; he additionally transferred tons of of hundreds in earnings to his private accounts, in line with the SEC.
On Sept. 25, Meredith Burns reported her husband as lacking. Burns’ automotive was later present in a parking zone in Dunwoody, Ga., with a number of cashiers’ checks totaling $78,000, however he was nowhere to be discovered.
The Justice Division charged him with mail fraud on Oct. 23, with a warrant issued for his arrest, however he hasn’t been seen or heard from since. His disappearance landed him on the FBI’s Most Wished listing.
Meredith Burns agreed to disgorge greater than $300,000 her husband gifted her, and a federal court docket dominated within the SEC’s favor final yr, demanding Chris Burns and his assorted firms pay $12 million, in line with the Atlanta Journal-Structure. Meredith Burns maintained she was unaware of her husband’s schemes, urging her fugitive husband to show himself in throughout an interview with Atlanta’s WSB-TV in early 2021.