Thomas Brenner to pay $3.5 Million and Serve Time for Fraud Scheme
Former Ohio broker Thomas Brenner has reportedly been handed a sentence of over 10 years in federal prison by an Ohio judge, according to a press release. This punishment comes after Brenner reportedly pleaded guilty to securities fraud, allegedly using the funds to finance the purchase of a race car and to settle back taxes.
Previously, Brenner held the position of President at First American Securities Inc., based in Orrville, Ohio. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA), the self-regulator that oversees brokerage firms, expelled the firm in March 2017 for failure to pay more than $300,000 in penalties and disgorgement. These penalties were reportedly associated with the sale of private placement investments that were purported to fund medical laboratory developments.
In March 2015, Brenner was allegedly involved in recruiting clients to invest in United RL Capital Services, one of three fictitious companies connected to a massive $102 million Ponzi scheme. This fraudulent scheme victimized more than 600 investors. Subsequently, Brenner was reportedly one of the five defendants in a civil case initiated by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2018.
In 2021, the Department of Justice filed fraud charges against Brenner, and he pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges related to mail, wire, and securities fraud according to an announcement made by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio.
$3.5 Million in Restitution to Harmed Investors
U.S. District Judge David C. Nugent handed down a sentence of 125 months of incarceration to Brenner. Additionally, Brenner was ordered to make restitution of $3.5 million and to serve a three-year term of supervised release.
Brenner reportedly solicited clients, using phone calls, written correspondence, and in-person meetings, assuring them that their investments in URL would yield returns with interest within three years. Some investors were reportedly encouraged by Brenner to withdraw funds from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to invest in URL, with the false promise that it wouldn’t lead to tax penalties.
Instead of using the funds as promised, Brenner purportedly diverted them for his personal benefit, including significant purchases related to race cars and settling tax debts. When investors questioned the status of their investments, Brenner allegedly provided deceptive reassurances, disguising sporadic and minimal payments as interest payments to maintain the illusion that their investments were secure and being utilized as agreed upon.
Brenner also allegedly concealed the ongoing FINRA investigation from investors and continued to peddle URL securities even after having sworn under oath to cease these activities.
In 2016, Brenner left his role at First American Securities, and subsequently, FINRA barred him from participating in the industry.
National Securities Attorneys
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