Criminal, civil charges filed against phony adviser in $2.95 million fraud
Former New Jersey warehouse operator Alexander Rowland promised returns of up to 140% a year
In parallel criminal and civil cases, Alexander S. Rowland of Penns Grove, New Jersey, has been charged with the fraudulent offer and sale of approximately $2.95 million of securities to approximately 122 investors through his company, Philadelphia-based Roaring Investments.
Rowland, a former warehouse operator, started the firm, which he called an investment company, and held himself out as a licensed investment adviser who invested in stocks and cryptocurrency. He promised investors a minimum rate of return of 25%, with potential returns of up to 140%, the SEC said in a release.
“Through these and other misrepresentations, Rowland was able to dupe his victims into investing almost $3 million in Roaring Investments,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said in a release.
In the criminal case, Rowland was charged with seven counts of mail fraud, 30 counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of investment adviser fraud, and two counts of money laundering related to a scam in which he purported to be an investment adviser and either stole or lost victims’ money, resulting in total losses of more than $2 million.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that Rowland invested only approximately $518,000 of the almost $3 million he obtained from his clients, and those investments lost more than $100,000. The remaining client funds (almost $2.5 million) were used by Rowland in a variety of ways that were never disclosed to his clients, including spending more than $1 million on himself.
Rowland faces a maximum sentence of 835 years in prison, a five-year period of supervised release, a fine of $15,345,987.58, and a $4,200 special assessment.
In its civil case, the Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking injunctive relief, the disgorgement of ill-gotten gains with prejudgment interest and civil penalties.