Orrville Man Sentenced to Prison for Mail, Wire, and Securities Fraud
CLEVELAND – Thomas Brenner, 60, of Orrville, Ohio, was sentenced to 125 months imprisonment by U.S. District Court Judge Donald C. Nugent after earlier pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, and engaging in a monetary transaction in property derived from criminal activity. Judge Nugent ordered Brenner to pay $3,487,938.89 in restitution and serve 3 years of supervised release.
According to court documents, Brenner was a financial broker-dealer and President of First American Securities, Inc., located in Orrville. In March of 2015, Brenner conspired to recruit clients to “invest” in United RL Capital Services, LLC (“URL”), a company that purportedly financed medical laboratory developments.
Investors were solicited by Brenner over the phone, through letters, and in person while he misrepresented material information. Brenner indicated that investors’ money would finance medical laboratory developments; they would receive their money back, with interest, after three years; and that URL was as safe or safer than other existing investments.
Some investors, at Brenner’s encouragement, removed money from their IRAs to invest in URL, and represented this would not result in tax penalties. Instead of apportioning investors’ money, as promised, Brenner used the funds for his benefit, including to make large race car-related purchases, and to pay back tax debts. When investors inquired about their investments, Brenner misrepresented that they were secure and provided some investors with sporadic, minimal payments, disguised as installments of earned interest, all to lull investors into believing their money was safe and being used as promised.
Brenner learned he was being investigated for selling URL securities by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”), a congressionally authorized entity that licenses and regulates broker-dealers. Brenner continued to sell URL securities after representing to FINRA under oath that he would stop. He did not tell prospective investors about the investigation, that First American Securities, Inc. could face closure, and that the defendant could be suspended from associating with any FINRA-registered firm, which he eventually was.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kathryn Andrachik and Erica Barnhill.