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Thu Mar 1, 2018, 06:01 AM

Michael and Gary Holcomb get six years in prison for Berjac Ponzi scheme

http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/36493267-75/michael-and-gary-holcomb-get-six-years-in-prison-for-berjac-ponzi-scheme.html.csp

Michael and Gary Holcomb get six years in prison for Berjac Ponzi scheme

By Dylan Darling

The Register-Guard

Feb. 28, 2018

A federal judge in Eugene Tuesday sentenced Michael and Gary Holcomb, the brothers behind the $40 million Berjac Ponzi scheme, to six years each in prison. Michael Holcomb, 74, and Gary Holcomb, 72, pleaded guilty in September to felony conspiracy and money laundering. U.S. District Court Judge Michael McShane sentenced the two former executives to 72 months — six years — in prison and three years of supervised release.
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Michael Holcomb was in charge of Berjac of Oregon in Eugene and Gary Holcomb led Berjac of Portland. The company bilked $40 million from about 400 investors in a Ponzi scheme, an investing scam, from early 2008 until late 2012. The case is the largest known Ponzi scheme in Lane County.
(snip)

The judge said Michael and Gary Holcomb took people’s money even when the brothers knew their company was collapsing in summer 2012. McShane noted that most of the victims in the case were 50 or older. Their investments represented life savings, college funds and retirement cash.
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The Holcombs promised investors 5 to 7 percent returns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Berjac purported to make money by offering loans to small businesses looking to pay insurance premiums. However, the Holcombs used investors’ money for speculative real estate projects and personal purchases, authorities said.
(snip)

The Holcombs broke bonds forged by their father, Jack Holcomb, who had founded Berjac in 1963 with his brother, Robert Holcomb, victims told McShane. Jack Holcomb also helped found Pacific Continental Bank in 1972 in Eugene.
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