SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A man who used to live in Ozark pleaded guilty in federal court on Monday to an investment fraud scheme that targeted the retirement savings of senior citizens.
Steven Gwin, 68, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James England to the charges of mail fraud and money laundering contained in an indictment handed up on Nov. 8, 2010. Gwin, who spent time in Guatemala and used several aliases and multiple Social Security account numbers, was apprehended in Arizona in April 2012. He remains in federal custody.
Gwin admitted he engaged in a scheme to defraud investors from Aug. 17, 2005, to March 14, 2007. Gwin solicited and obtained funds from individuals for investment in various retirement ventures. Gwin conducted seminars for senior citizens in both Missouri and Arkansas to promote these investment programs. As a result, many of the investors whom Gwin solicited were elderly.
Gwin represented to the individual investors that he would invest their retirement funds in secure, interest-earning investments. Gwin directed individual investors to establish Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) through Sterling Trust Company, a non-bank trust company in Waco, Texas, that provides custodial services on self-directed IRAs. After investors funded their IRA accounts, Gwin transferred the funds to purchase unsecured notes issued by First Nevada Marketing, a Missouri corporation operated by Gwin.