Through an enterprise he named 3 Hooligans Investments Properties, a 35-year-old Rochester man swindled more than $11 million from his clients and used the money for family vacations and payments on his house and his wife's luxury car.
For his thievery, Jason M. Meyer was sentenced Monday in federal court in Minneapolis to five years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering. Meyer was also ordered to pay restitution of $6.4 million.
Meyer had described himself as a passionate marketer, a producer of elite concerts and public events, president of "nine companies worldwide," and a veteran in commercial real estate development with a master's in business administration from the University of Wisconsin. But he's been dogged with fraud allegations for years, piling up judgments in excess of $20 million.
According to his plea agreement:
Promised big, rapid returns
Meyer started 3 Hooligans in 2007 and presented himself as an experienced investor who promised clients significant and rapid return, with little or no risk.
He deposited their money into a bank account and then used it for family trips and to make payments on his Rochester house and his wife's BMW.
To continue funding the scheme, Meyer found new clients and used their money to pay previous clients. By the time the scheme was uncovered three years later, Meyer had carried out dozens of transactions costing clients more than $11 million.
The Star Tribune reported in January 2011 that federal investigators suspected the Florida native of a scheme that allegedly defrauded investors of at least $6.5 million through a variety of get-rich-quick ploys, from business financing mechanisms to gold-mining interests.
Lawsuits in Wisconsin, Florida and New York over the years have accused Meyer of fraud, and investors and creditors have won judgments totaling $21.3 million.
Miami lawyer Bernard H. Butts Jr. won a judgment of $19.75 million against Meyer involving a purported gold futures contract that his attorney described as a Ponzi scheme in a complaint filed with the Minnesota attorney general's office.
Investigators say Meyer conducted business under the names 3 Hooligans, Fortune Financial Investments & Consulting, Darkshore Funding Inc., GP Acquisitions, Getting Paid Acquisitions, M5 Enterprises and Combat USA Inc.