North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services
TO NCSCF TASK FORCE MEMBERS
Task Force member John Maron of the Securities Division, NC Department of the Secretary of State, shares the following joint anouncement by NC Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall and US Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina, Anne M. Tompkins:
HENDERSON COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING LOCAL RETIREES THROUGH INVESTMENT SCAM
On February 24, 2011, NC Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall joined U.S. Attorney Anne M. Tompkins and Joseph S. Campbell, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, Charlotte Division, in announcing that Bryan Keith Noel, 41, of Hendersonville, NC and Alexander Klosek, 33, of Etowah, NC were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Asheville to serve terms of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution in connection with their involvement in a Hendersonville-area business known as Certified Estate Planners, Inc.
Noel and Klosek were charged separately in U.S. District Court in 2009 with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and other crimes, in connection with a fraudulent investment business started by Noel in 1999 to solicit investors and to offer estate planning services geared toward retirees.
The case arose from a fraud investigation conducted by agents of the Securities Division of the Office of the North Carolina Secretary of State and the Charlotte Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Noel, who was tried by a federal jury and found guilty in March 2010 received a sentence of 25 years imprisonment and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of approximately $11 million to his victims. Klosek, who entered a guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, received a sentence of 87 months imprisonment and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of approximately $10.5 million to his victims.
According to official court documents, from around January 2003 until about July 2006, in Henderson County, Noel and others solicited over 100 clients, mostly local retirees, to invest large sums of their savings with Noel‘s business, Certified Estate Planners, Inc. According to testimony and evidence offered during Noel‘s criminal trial in February and March 2010, Noel and Klosek, without the investors‘ knowledge, diverted several million dollars, assets belonging to the clients of Certified Estate Planners, Inc., to a start-up lumber composite company of Noel‘s.
This activity significantly decreased the value of the clients‘ investments. Noel and Klosek then continually misrepresented the value of the clients‘ assets to them on their quarterly statements in order to conceal from investors the true diminished value of their assets. Not only were the investors deceived about the diminished value of their assets, they were lied to by Noel and Klosek, who told them by July 2006 that their assets had grown to a total of approximately $16 million. According to trial testimony and evidence, the clients‘ assets had dwindled at that time to only about $1 million. Noel filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in August 2007. Noel was found guilty on two counts of making a false oath in connection with a bankruptcy proceeding, along with 25 separate counts of mail fraud and a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Klosek pled guilty, as charged, to one count alleging conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud.
******End of Alert******
March 24, 2011
David N. Kirkman
NC Senior Consumer
Fraud Task Force
Trade Commission Alerts