American investment manager Brent Borland pleads guilty to Placencia International Airport scam
Thursday, February 21st, 2019
American investment manager 48-year-old Brent Borland has pleaded guilty to running a US$21.9 million fraud in Belize between 2014 and 2018. Borland admitted to falsely telling dozens of investors their money was going to be used to construct an international airport in Placencia southern Belize, promising them double-digit rates in returns for their investment.
Borland, a principal at Borland Capital Group, was first charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in New York City, New York, USA on May 16, 2018, for misappropriating close to $6 million from investors. The SEC alleges that from 2014, Borland sold more than US$21 million worth of promissory notes to a large number of investors. They were told that their funds would become a bridge to finance an international airport in southern Belize.
After being in prison for almost a year, on Wednesday, February 13th, Borland accepted liability to the charges of one count of securities fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy, before U.S District Judge Katherine Polk Failla in Manhattan, New York City. According to a report from the Justice Department, each charge carries a maximum 20-year prison term.
According to the investigation, Borland diverted roughly $6 million to himself and his family to cover credit card bills, mortgage payments on a mansion in Florida, USA, a beach club membership, luxurious vehicles and private schooling for his children. The airport scam allegedly took place partially at The Placencia Hotel and Residences, where investors were lodged and attended business seminars regarding the development. Potential investors were even given aerial tours of the airport’s construction site to better sell the project’s idea. Of importance to mention, is that Borland’s business partner in Belize was Marco Caruso of The Placencia, who has not been associated with the airport scam. However, Caruso has been associated to allegedly fraudulent schemes that saw hundreds of Canadian investors losing millions of dollars between 2007 and 2010. According to the findings of the Ontario Securities Commission, Canyon Acquisitions and its Principles, Caruso is named as being involved in the enticement and misrepresentation of investments in various resort development projects in the Dominican Republic and southern Belize.
Caruso was recently involved in a controversial matter regarding the establishment of a cannabis and hemp farm in southern Belize to develop medical products for exportation. The project has not been given the green light yet, but it did receive support from Belize’s Minister of Health, Honourable Pablo Marin via letter including specific conditions for the production.
It has been revealed that the Minister of Health, Honourable Pablo Marin, has signed two letters allegedly supporting the establishment of cannabis and hemp farms in southern Belize to develop medical products for exportation.
In the meantime, Borland continues behind bars awaiting his sentencing, which has been scheduled for June 21, 2019.
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