Jackson County man sentenced to 9 years in prison for orchestrating $50 million Ponzi scheme involving over-sized tires

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A Jackson, Ohio man was sentenced in U.S. District Court today to 108 months in prison for orchestrating a $50 million dollar Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 50 investors.

 

Jason E. Adkins, 46, solicited victims from all over the country and world.

 

“The victims in this case had their lives upended, their life savings taken, and their security ripped away, all while Adkins enriched himself and lived lavishly” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth L. Parker. “Adkins deserves the prison sentence he received today.”

 

According to court documents, from 2012 through 2018, Adkins conspired to solicit millions of dollars from investors under false pretenses, failed to invest the funds as promised, and misappropriated investors’ funds for his own benefit and the benefit of others.

 

Adkins and others claimed that they bought and sold over-sized tires commonly known as off-the-road tires, which are used on earth moving equipment and/or mining equipment. Investors were told their money would be used to buy the tires at a steep discount, and that the tires would then be re-sold to a buyer at a much higher rate.

 

Investors were promised a 15 to 20 percent rate of return on investment, generally within 180 days. Adkins would sometimes pay the return on investment for the first transaction with investor victims.

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In addition, Adkins and his co-conspirators employed a sham escrow agent to falsely reassure investor-victims that their money was safe until the tire deals were consummated; more than $80 million flowed through the so-called escrow agent’s accounts related to the scheme.

 

Adkins also laundered his ill-gotten proceeds for at least five years, including by investing in front businesses created by co-conspirators.

 

Adkins bought cars, vacations and property with the funds from the scheme. For example, he paid for the construction of a pool at his personal residence and more than $20,000 to lease a private jet.

 

Further, Adkins failed to file individual income tax returns reporting his income derived from the scheme. In 2013, specifically, Adkins earned at least $1.1 million, which caused a tax loss of nearly $237,000 to the IRS.

 

Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation; and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the case. Assistant United States Attorneys S. Courter Shimeall, Peter K. Glenn-Applegate and David J. Twombly are representing the United States in this case.

 

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