A federal judge has frozen the assets of a Minnesota-based money manager who is charged by the SEC with pilfering millions of dollars from investors through a currency investment scheme.
The Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that Jason Bo-Alan Beckman of Plymouth, Minn., raised at least $47.3 million from 143 investors and, with his wife Hollie, used much of the money to fund an "extravagant lifestyle" that included luxury cars and homes, a personal suite at Minnesota Wild hockey games and membership in exclusive country clubs.
Beckman's investors lost at least $39.2 million as a result of the scam, according to the SEC complaint filed with U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.
For some of Beckman's clients, the lost investments represented life savings, according to published reports.
"The investors' loss was the Beckmans' gains," Steven Seeger, an attorney for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "They lived the high life with the life savings of others."
The SEC alleges Beckman was one of the masterminds of a bogus foreign currency program that was orchestrated by another Minnesota-based money manager, Trevor Cook. The scheme, which netted $194 million from nearly 1,000 investors, was carried out from 2006 to 2009. Cook was arrested in 2009, convicted and in August was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Beckman and his firm, the Oxford Private Client Group, raised nearly a quarter of the assets Cook raised through the scam, according to the SEC.
Advertising the currency program as a no-risk investment with guaranteed returns of 10.5% to 12% per year, Beckman diverted most of the money he raised to either his personal accounts or to pay interest or return on principal payments to his other clients, according to the SEC.
Beckman and his wife Hollie personally took $7.8 million of the investor funds and spent it on a fleet of cars that included Jaguars, Land Rovers and Mercedes Benz, luxury homes in Minnesapolis, Texas and Florida, antiques and spa equipment, a luxury suite at Minnesota Wild hockey games, resorts and other items, according to the SEC.