March 3, 2014. Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Ronald J. Verrochio, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announced the recent conviction of Arthur John Schlecht, 54, of Boone, North Carolina, and formerly of Miami-Dade County, for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and for wire fraud. Schlecht was convicted by a jury in Miami following a five-week trial.
The indictment charged Schlecht and others with conspiracy to commit fraud through their operation of three corporations, Global Bullion Trading Group, Inc., WJS Funding, Inc., d/b/a Capital Asset Management, and Certified, Inc., d/b/a Certified Clearing. These businesses claimed to be investment brokerage firms offering investors the opportunity to invest in gold, silver, platinum and palladium bullion, which would be stored for the investors in depository vaults.
The indictment charged that the companies did not actually purchase physical metal in the name of their investors. The indictment also charged that Schlecht tried to hide his control of Global Bullion Trading Group, Inc., and Capital Asset Management, and that Schlecht used millions of dollars of company funds for his own benefit, including direct payments to family members, and for cars, maid services, home décor, landscaping, remodeling, interior furnishings, and jewelry.
Evidence at trial showed that hundreds of victims lost in excess of $25 million. Co-defendants Frederick B. Gomer, Carlos Rodriguez, Ricardo Padron and Robert Roca, who also worked at the businesses, pled guilty prior to trial.
Schlecht faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 40 years in prison, plus fines and restitution. Schlecht will be sentenced in May by U.S. Judge Richard W. Goldberg.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, USPIS, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Caroline Heck Miller and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin.