Feds accuse Rochester man of chain of financial crimes

  • Article by: DAN BROWNING
  • Star Tribune
  • August 22, 2012 - 10:07 PM

A Rochester businessman with the audacity to name one of his companies 3 Hooligans Investment Properties was charged Tuesday in Minneapolis with wire fraud and money laundering.

Jason Michael Meyer describes 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 Meyer, 35, has been dogged with fraud allegations for years, piling up judgments in excess of $20 million.

Federal prosecutors added felony criminal charges to the pile in anticipation of a plea bargain. A hearing on the matter has been set for Sept. 18.

The charges, made public Wednesday in Minneapolis, allege Meyer was involved in a fraud scheme from 2007 through 2009. Five years ago, he got an investor to wire him $150,000 for a real estate project, but actually used the money to pay an earlier investor as an incentive to get additional investments, the government says.

The money-laundering charge relates to a $150,000 wire transfer from 3 Hooligans to Excel Financial Investment Inc., which Meyer allegedly used as a down payment on his home.

Meyer's attorney, Craig Cascarano of Minneapolis, declined to comment when asked if Meyer was cooperating with authorities in a wider investigation.

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.

Civil suits filed in Wisconsin, Florida and New York over the years have accused Meyer of fraud, and investors and creditors have piled up judgments against him totaling $21.3 million. A claim for $3 million more remains pending in a New York federal court involving an Ecuadoran gold-mining deal and "historic Mexican bonds."

Bernard H. Butts Jr., a lawyer in Miami, 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 to the Minnesota attorney general's office.

In a similar matter, the Florida Bar Association sought to revoke the law license of an attorney who did business with Meyer, resulting in losses of $420,000 for four investors. An expert testified "Meyer's scheme" met the definition of a Ponzi fraud, because the money from new investors was used to pay off earlier ones.

Meyer claimed in e-mails to a reporter in 2011 that he was a victim of fraud himself, and the allegations against him are being resolved and judgments satisfied. He said he was cooperating with investigators.

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.

Dan Browning • 612-673-4493

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