Missouri man indicted in $4.7M cattle fraud scheme
April 6, 2018
A Missouri man has been indicted in a $4.7 million investment fraud scheme in which he defrauded 89 investors who believed they were purchasing cattle for resale at a profit.
Cameron J. Hager, 42, of Clinton, was charged in a nine-count indictment returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City on March 28. That indictment was unsealed and made public upon Hager's arrest and initial appearance at the U.S. District Court in Jefferson City.
The federal indictment alleges that Hager, who operated 5A Holdings, LLC, engaged in the fraud scheme from July 17, 2015, to March 28, 2018. Hager allegedly induced victims to invest in a "cattle fund" that was used to purchase herds of cattle to be sold later at a substantial profit, although he never actually purchased or intended to purchase any cattle.
According to a federal forfeiture complaint, filed in a separate but related civil proceeding, Hager received approximately $4.7 million dollars from approximately 89 investors. Investment amounts ranged from $1,000 to $267,000.
According to the indictment, Hager told victim investors that he would arrange to purchase herds of cattle from farmers or ranchers who had reasons to sell their herds because of financial distress and inability to maintain their herds. Hager and his organization, he allegedly claimed, evaluated the cattle, including having the cattle examined by a "seasoned veterinarian," and determined that a predictable profit could be realized by maintaining and feeding the cattle until an optimum time for marketing the cattle. Hager allegedly claimed that 5A Holdings realized net returns greater than 20 percent on investments in herds of cattle during 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Hager induced other individuals to recruit investors, the indictment said, although he knew the representations they made to potential investors were false. Hager used money obtained from investors to pay commissions, for the purpose of perpetuating referrals of additional investors.
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Before the scheme unraveled, according to court documents, Hager used the majority of investor funds for his personal living expenses, including paying his home mortgage, travel expenses, lodging, airfare, payments for religious conferences, numerous Amazon purchases, ATM withdrawals, building supplies, credit card payments, paying taxes and purchasing personal vehicles.
In some cases, money obtained from investors was used to provide "returns" to other investors with the false representation that the "returns" of money resulted from the sale of cattle. Any money that was returned to investors was money that had been supplied by other investors and not money resulting from sales of cattle. As a result of Hager's misuse of investors' funds, the total loss to his victims is currently estimated at $3.5 million dollars.
The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Hager to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including $394,074 in an Equity Bank account, his 46.6-acre residential property (currently listed for sale with an asking price of $899,000), a 2013 Ford F-150 pickup truck, a 2006 Toyota 4Runner, and two 2017 Winnebago travel trailers.
This case is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Ketchmark and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas M. Larson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacey Perkins Rock is handling the forfeiture. This case was investigated by the Missouri Secretary of State, Securities Division, and the FBI. ❖