U.S. Department of Justice

United States Attorney
District of Nevada

December 8, 2010

Men Sentenced to Prison for 2003 Investment Fraud Scheme

LAS VEGAS – Two men who convinced several individuals in 2003 to invest large sums of money in a fraudulent  “high yield” investment fraud scheme, have been sentenced to federal prison, announced Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada. 

Gary Colombo, 54, of Las Vegas, and Michael Jenkins, 45, of Memphis, were sentenced on Tuesday, December 7, 2010, by Senior U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle to 57 and 48 months in prison, respectively, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $10 million in restitution.  Colombo was remanded to custody immediately following sentencing, and Jenkins was permitted to self-report to prison by February 28, 2011.  Colombo, Jenkins, and a third defendant, Daniel Ellis, who is now deceased, were indicted in April 2007.  Colombo and Jenkins pleaded guilty this summer to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. 

In 2003, the defendants promised victims "no risk" and "high gain" investments on sums of $10 million or more.  The defendants also promised that the investors’ funds would be securely held in a major bank and returned to them within a specified time. The defendants used corporate alter egos through which the investment program was offered. Entities involved in the scheme include “Arquest, Inc,” “ZAG, LLC”, and FRETUS FIDUCIA PRIVATE BANK. The defendants persuaded at least three persons to invest in their scheme for over $30 million total.  The monies were never invested and were instead used for personal gain, including for the purchase of luxury automobiles and multiple homes in Grand Junction, Colorado. 

This case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kathryn C. Newman and Steven W. Myhre.

To learn more about investment scams, how to take steps to protect yourself from scams, or how to report investment fraud if you believe you have been victimized, visit www.StopFraud.gov, which includes links to a wide array of  resources. To report investment fraud in Nevada, contact the FBI at (702) 385-1281.

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Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force

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Eric Holder, Attorney General, Chair
 
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What is Financial Fraud?

Financial Fraud encompasses a wide range of illegal behavior - from mortgage scams to Ponzi schemes, credit card theft to tax fraud. Everyone is affected by financial fraud.