Timber Investment Scam: Ex-Lawyer and Lobbyist Face Sentences and Restitution

Check out this interesting conspiracy to defraud investors' story...

A former attorney and a lobbyist were sentenced in November and required to pay restitution of almost $1 million after pleading guilty to a conspiracy to defraud investors in a timber investment scheme.

Former lawyer Jon D. Seawright, 51, of Jackson, Mississippi was sentenced to one year and one day in prison. Former lobbyist, Ted Brent Alexander, 58, also of Jackson, was sentenced to five years of probation. The pair was ordered to pay a total of $977,044.53

“They represented to investors that they were in the business of loaning funds to a “timber broker” to buy timber rights from landowners and then to sell the timber rights to lumber mills at a higher price,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Southern Mississippi. “Alexander and Seawright promised investors a return of 10% or more over twelve or thirteen months on each unit of invested capital.”

The pair had assured investors that they were inspecting the forest land involved and vetting the documents involved to assure investors that real assets were involved in the transactions. In fact, no inspection occurred and they failed to “verify” lumber transaction agreements, U.S. Attorney Todd W. Gee and Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in an announcement of the sentences.

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