The Securities and Exchange Commission has announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against a Florida-based investment fund scheme. One of the defendants has a prior felony conviction and is currently on parole after nearly 20 years in prison. The SEC filed the emergency action against Castleberry Financial Services Group LLC, president T. Jonathon Turner, and CEO Norman M. Strell. Turner was formally known as Jon Barri Brothers.
The SEC alleges that the defendants have defrauded investors out of $3.6 million in the past year. The complaint claims that Castleberry falsely represented to investors it had hundreds of millions of dollars in capital invested in local businesses and a portfolio including hundreds of investment properties. It claimed to provide high yields while offering protection to the investors’ principal. It claimed the principal was insured and protected by CNA Financial Corp. and Chubb Group.
In reality, these two insurance companies had no relationship with Castleberry. They did not authorize Castleberry to use their logos in sales materials. The complaint accuses Turner and Strell of misusing investor funds to pay personal expenses and transferring other funds to businesses they controlled and to family members. Castleberry is accused of falsely stating on its website and in promotional materials that Turner had an MBA and law degree with extensive finance industry experience.
It concealed the fact that Turner had been convicted of multiple theft, fraud and forgery felonies and was imprisoned from 1998 until 2016. Additional details can be found here.