Beginning in 2005, Robert Ingram held himself out as the director of an investment program that would enable investors to share in the proceeds of an alleged $23 billion "note" underwritten by the Federal Reserve. My, you say, that sounds impressive -- you know, the Federal Reserve is a pretty august body and when you're talking about a multi-billion dollar note that the Fed has underwritten, well, geez, that's pretty sophisticated stuff. This Ingram fellow must be a pretty savvy guy to be the director of a multi-billion dollar Federal Reserve Note investment program -- maybe they refer to that as the FRNIP? I mean, you know, they always have acronyms for such important things.
So -- Robert Ingram was the Director of a FRNIP.
Or so you would think.
Or so you were supposed to think.
Next -- enter one Olivia Jeanne Bowen. Bowen was a facilitator for Ingram's FRNIP.
What's a FRNIP facilitator? Well, if you're going to show your ignorance by asking such a stupid question, then maybe this just isn't the right investment opportunity for you. After all, everyone who wants to invest in a FRNIP gains entry to the program via the good offices of a professional facilitator. Waddya, some kinda idiot? Imagine wasting my valuable time with such a question.
Okay, now let's recap. Ingram is the Director of a FRNIP. Bowen is the facilitator of Ingram's FRNIP. You got that?
Anyway, starting in 2005, Ingram and Bowen told potential FRNIP investors that they would realize huge returns within a few weeks. Wow, sign me up!
Of course, 2005 became 2006, which became 2007, and those promised huge returns began to seem a tad -- how shall I put it? -- a tad "delayed?" Year after year, Ingram, Bowen, and various affiliates persuaded additional investors to give them money. Money as in thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars. And just exactly where were these investors' funds going? Well, according to Ingram and Bowen, the money would be used to pay the final fees or expenses associated with gaining access to the proceeds of the alleged $23 billion note. It's all part of this very sophisticated FRNIP. Fewer questions, please.
Apparently, the only thing standing in the way of the investors' windfall was raising the bucks necessary to gain access to the note. You understand that, right? Sure you do. It's oh so simple. Ingram and Bowen just needed a few more dollars in order to get the proceeds of the billions underwritten by the Fed. Couldn't be a more simple proposition. You'd have to be a fool not to see the beauty and simplicity of the FRNIP.
In reality, we need to edit some of the words that I used above.
- When I referenced "investors," I probably should have said "victims."
- When I spoke about various affiliates working with Ingram and Bowen, I probably should have said criminal co-conspirators.
- When I described the multi-billion dollar note, I probably should have informed you that it was a fabricated product -- no such Fed note existed.
Which compels the question: What the hell did these con artists do with all the money that they raised to supposedly grease the wheels to unlock the proceeds from the note?
According to federal indictments, Ingram and Bowen used their victims' so-called investments to spend lavishly on themselves and to distribute the victims' money to other co-conspirators. For example, Ingram spent his victims' money on cosmetic surgery, stays at luxury hotels, and extravagant purchases at retailers such as Christian Dior, among other things.
Perhaps you're shaking your head -- yet another Wall Street scam, you curse. However, it gets worse. As a result of the fraud committed by Ingram, Bowen, and their co-conspirators, some victims lost their life savings and their homes.
On April 8, 2010, Ingram plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. On April 13, 2010, Bowen plead guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud on April 13, 2010.
On September 28, 2010, Ingram and Bowen were sentenced in Manhattan federal court to 144 months and 63 months in prison, respectively, for their participation in the fraudulent advance-fee scheme involving the alleged $23 billion Federal Reserve "note" that spanned years and defrauded victims across the country of millions of dollars. In addition to the prison terms, the defendants were each sentenced to a term of three years of supervised release. Also, Preliminary Orders of Forfeiture were entered against Bowen in the amount of $12 million, and against Ingram in the amount of $7 million. See, "Two Perpetrators of Advance-Fee Scheme Sentenced in Manhattan Criminal Court to Lengthy Prison Terms."