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United States of America v. Robert J. Jesenick
Case Number: 3:20-cr-00228-SI
Judge: Michael H. Simon
Court: United States District Court for the District of Oregon (Multnomah County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States District Attorney’s Office
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Portland, OR - The United States of America charged Robert J. Jesenick with fraud and money laundering.
Jesenik, a former resident of West Linn, Oregon, is charged in a 32-count indictment with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering. Also charged are Nelson Scott Gillis, 67, of Lake Oswego, Oregon; Brian K. Rice, 54, of Portland; and Andrew N. MacRitchie, 56, formerly of Palm Harbor, Florida.
According to court documents, Jesenik, Gillis, MacRitchie, Rice, and others used the Lake Oswego company to solicit investments in a variety of notes and funds, many of which were purportedly backed by trade receivables in education, health care, transportation, and other consumer credit areas.
From June 2014 through February 2016, the former executives solicited investors by misrepresenting the company’s use of investor money, the financial health and strength of Aequitas and its related companies, and the risks associated with its investments and investment strategies. Collectively, the defendants also failed to disclose other critical facts about the company, including its near-constant liquidity and cash-flow crises, the use of investor money to repay other investors and to defray operating expenses, and the lack of collateral to secure funds.
Jesenik founded the Aequitas group of companies, and, as chief executive officer, controlled the organization’s structure and had ultimate decision-making authority over company activities.
Gillis, who was previously indicted for conspiring to submit false statements to a federally insured creditor, was the company’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer. In these roles, he was responsible for directing Aequitas’s overall financial policies and accounting functions. He established and maintained the company’s accounting principles, practices, procedures and initiatives, prepared financial reports and presented findings and recommendations to the executive teams, and oversaw all financial functions.
MacRitchie was the company’s executive vice president and chief compliance officer. As such, he was responsible for the development and implementation of risk management and compliance processes and procedures. MacRitchie oversaw all Aequitas accounting, legal, and audit functions, and participated in fundraising. He also established Aequitas’s New York Office and directed Aequitas’s “Lux Fund,” a Luxembourg-based fund used to solicit international investors.
Rice served as Aequitas’s executive vice president and president of wealth management. Among his responsibilities, Rice oversaw the solicitation of investments through registered investment advisors (RIA) and managed Aequitas’s affiliated RIAs.
If convicted on all charges, each of the defendants could face decades in prison and millions of dollars in fines and restitution, as well as five years’ supervised release following their prison terms.
Former Aequitas executives and co-conspirators Brian A. Oliver and Olaf Janke previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and money laundering on April 19, 2019, and June 10, 2019, respectively. As part of their plea agreements, they have both agreed to pay restitution in full to their victims as determined and ordered by the court.
An indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Labor Employee Benefits Security Administration. It is being prosecuted by Scott E. Bradford and Ryan W. Bounds, Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the District of Oregon.
18:1349 - Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud
18:1343 - Wire Fraud
18:1956(h) - Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering
18:1957 - Money Laundering
18:1344 - Bank Fraud
18:1349 - Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud
18:1014 - False Statement on Loan Application
Outcome: Status Conference held before Magistrate Judge John Jelderks as to Robert J. Jesenik (USM #79668-112) on 8/18/2020. Defendant previously waived his right to appear in person and consented to appear by telephone. The Court found that videoconferencing was not readily available to Defendant and approved his appearance by telephone. The Government reports that the arrest warrant was executed when Defendant was processed by the Marshals Service in Santa Ana, California, on 8/17/2020. The Government asks the Court to strike the Order for Withdrawal of Arrest Warrant (ECF No. 20), as the order was entered after the warrant was executed. After the warrant return is filed, the Government may submit language to the Court to strike Order No. 20. The parties are to confer on an amended release order. The amended release order will be filed after the Court hears from Defendant's counsel regarding additional information regarding his current employment. In the meantime, Defendant is ordered to comply with all standard conditions of release, which have been furnished to him (ECF No. 21 ) and as instructed by the Court. Counsel Present for the Government: Ryan W. Bounds (by video). Counsel Present for Defendant: Ruben L. Iniguez (by video). (Court Reporter Bonita Shumway) (gw) (Entered: 08/18/2020)
The charges set forth in the Indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.