Clinton Man Sentenced for $4.7M Cattle Investment Fraud Scheme
A 43-year old man from Clinton, MO was recently sentenced in federal court for a $4.7-million investment fraud scheme in which he defrauded 92 investors who believed they were purchasing cattle for resale at a profit.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says that 43-year old Cameron J. Hager was sentenced on Tuesday (March 5) to eight years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Hager to pay $3,236,547 in restitution to the victims of his crime.
Hager reportedly pleaded guilty on June 26, 2018, to one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
Hager, who operated 5A Holdings, LLC, admitted he engaged in the fraud scheme from July 2015 to September 2017. Hager solicited victims to invest in a “cattle fund” that was used to purchase herds of cattle to be sold later at a substantial profit, although he never actually purchased or intended to purchase any cattle.
Hager received $4.7 million dollars from 92 investors, with investment amounts ranging from $1,000 to $267,000. After taking into account money repaid to investors during the course of the scheme, and money paid to investors by Hager after the scheme was exposed, the total loss amount was $3,236,547.
Authorities say Hager deposited $394,074 into his business bank account. He also used the proceeds of the scheme, among other things, to make substantial payments on the mortgage of his 46-acre residential property and to purchase a Ford F-150 pickup truck, a Toyota 4Runner, and two Winnebago travel trailers. All of Hager’s interest in that property has been forfeited to the government.
Hager convinced his victims that he was locating herds of cattle that farmers in distress needed to sell. He told them he would use investor funds to buy such herds, then transport the cattle to pastures/feed lots owned by himself or his company, 5A Holdings, where the cattle would be cared for, fattened, and eventually sold to slaughterhouses where Hager had “contacts.”
A press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office indicates Hager consistently represented that these transactions would produce a net “return” of 23% - 28% on each investment. Hager paid an individual to pose as a veterinarian when at least one investor traveled to Missouri to inspect the cattle herds.
Investors filed complaints with the Missouri Secretary of State’s Securities Division, and the office opened an investigation. Hager sent the Securities Division a written response to the allegations of fraud; in that response he reportedly admitted there was no cattle and that he had made false representations to investors.
The wire fraud charge relates to e-mails sent by Hager to a victim investor. The money laundering charge relates to Hager’s withdrawal of $21,500 from his business bank account to purchase a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
The FBI determined the money withdrawn by Hager for this transaction was derived from his wire fraud scheme.