Gresham pleads guilty to $15.8 million investment scam

A Peachtree City man, Eldon A. Gresham, Jr., is facing federal prison time after admitting he scammed investors — including many in Fayette County — out of their life savings.

Gresham, 67, pleaded guilty Jan. 3 before U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis in Dallas, Texas, to one count of mail fraud stemming from a foreign currency exchange (ForEx) scheme that he ran from January 2004 through June 2009 from Peachtree City, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldana of the Northern District of Texas.

Gresham, formerly of Olney, Texas, who is representing himself in the case, was set to go on trial Jan. 14, 2013, on a superseding indictment charging four counts of mail fraud.

Gresham faces a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and restitution. However, in accordance with the terms of the plea agreement, if the Court accepts the plea, the parties agree that the maximum prison term shall be at the bottom end of the U.S. Sentencing Guideline range that is ultimately determined by the Court.

In addition, Gresham shall forfeit a money judgment to the U.S. in the amount of $15.8 million, constituting the proceeds obtained from his offense. A sentencing date has not been set.

Gresham is presently in federal custody, having been arrested in Georgia on Dec. 13, 2012, for violating the conditions of pre-trial release. It is expected that a bond hearing will be held in the near future.

According to the superseding indictment, Gresham recruited at least 90 individuals to invest in his ForEx trading business, The Gresham Company, which he operated out of Peachtree City, Ga., where he resided.

Gresham falsely represented to potential investors that he consistently generated large investment returns by trading investor funds in off-exchange foreign currency contracts in the ForEx market. Over the life of the scheme, Gresham fraudulently obtained approximately $15.8 million in investor funds.

As also noted in the superseding indictment, Gresham specifically targeted members of the Christian faith as potential investors, knowing that many of these Christian investors were elderly and particularly vulnerable to his scheme.

He induced Christians to give him funds for investment by telling them that his success in currency trading was a blessing and gift from God, which Gresham considered to be “his ministry.” He also persuaded Christian investors to give him funds by telling them that the investors could later use investment profits to further God’s works.

According to the factual resume filed in the case, Gresham falsely represented inflated profits to investors and represented to several investors that he had never suffered any losses in his currency trading.

He also falsely represented to investors the financial condition of their investor accounts by sending monthly emails that included falsely inflated investment profits.

Gresham also falsely represented to investors that funds he distributed to existing investors were actual returns on investment for that investor, when he knew some of those funds were actually funds he received from new investors.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is in charge of the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Jarvis and J. Nicholas Bunch are prosecuting.

Gresham played college football at Texas Christian University and later became the Southeastern director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He resided in Peachtree City for more than 20 years.

madprof
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a question of character

It's not hard to see how these investors were bilked. A very similar scheme hit my family last year when bank director and investment broker Aubrey Lee Price disappeared, leaving behind his young family and investors to whom he owed $17 million, much of it retirement savings. Price also marketed himself as a born-again Christian, and he had a whole bevy of wholesome associates to back up that claim. It was easy to trust our money to a person who seemed to have both the financial expertise and the solid character needed for good stewardship. Besides, Price claimed that government oversight would protect our investments. Only too late did we learn that our money had no more government protection than the funds others sunk into the ForEx "ministry."

AtHomeGym
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Madprof ^& Investing

I sorta lean towards established companies like Vanguard & Fidelity, who won't promise to make you rich or fantastic returns on investment. Hard to have sympathy for those wishing for totally outrageous returns--maybe something called 'greed'.

Husband and Fat...
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Flaws

According to this article, this man fluanted his religious beliefs to prey on innocent victims.

This is the type of personality that always makes me ponder this type of persons ulterior motives.

If someone has to overemphasize one of thier traits to gain approval, its usually because they are overcompensating for some personal flaw.

Robert W. Morgan
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90 investors fell for this? WWJD?

Read this part ".......his success in currency trading was a blessing and gift from God, which Gresham considered to be “his ministry.”

So 90 people heard this and didn't smell a rat? I only heard a version of it once and literally left the room with him in mid-sentence as did 2 others (3 or 4 remained).

If the person you give your life savings to is not part of a reputable company with a national reputation, it is cause for worry. This guy is small potatoes and got caught quickly, but how many others are out there are smarter about it and able to operate for years - like Madoff.

Husband and Fat...
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Greed, Religion, and Sex

Whenever someone tries to sell me easy money, religion, or sex I walk out laughing too.

Some others will never learn.