A former associate of a financial advisor who committed suicide while under investigation has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for running his own Ponzi scheme, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas says.
Brian Anthony Bjork of Missouri City, Texas, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court to 52 months in prison and three years probation. He was ordered to make more than $1.1 million in restitution to the victims of his fraud scheme.
Bjork was an employee of David Salinas of Friendswood, Texas, at J. David Salinas Financial Group and Select Asset Management. He was also treasurer of the Houston Athletics Foundation, a non-profit organization that contributes funds to the athletic department at the University of Houston.
The SEC was investigating Salinas and his companies for allegedly selling bonds that never really existed when Salinas shot himself in July 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s office says.
The investigation revealed that Bjork was running what the U.S. Attorney called a “scam within a scam.” Bjork subsequently pled guilty to one count of wire fraud. The SEC put Salinas’ companies in receivership on the grounds that the lending funds from Select Asset Management failed to make certain disclosures and the bond offerings never existed.
At the same time that Salinas was running his scheme, Bjork was soliciting money from some of the J. David Salinas Financial Group clients and from the Houston Athletics Foundation to invest. Instead of investing it, Bjork used the money himself or paid clients. He targeted family members or friends with whom he had a personal relationship who were unlikely to talk to Salinas about their investments, the U.S. Attorney says.