A former CEO of a now-defunct “bank” pleaded guilty to securities fraud in Texas earlier this month. Jason Rice admitted to stealing more than $4 million from his investors. According to the federal indictment, Rice made false statements to investors about the company’s capital and its services. He also told investors that the company had financial relationships it did not have.
Initially, the State of Texas issued a cease-and-desist order in January to Rice’s company, AriseBank. The entity used the word “bank” in its name although it was not authorized to provide banking services. Additionally, the entity promised investors returns of up to 20% on their initial investments. Rice later issued a press release claiming to have raised $600M in an initial coin offering (ICO). The release also indicated that the entity expected to receive $1B in initial investments. Regulators from the US Securities and Exchange Commission began investigating Rice at that point.
The SEC indicated in its complaint that AriseBank had not registered with the SEC, so its ICO was illegal. Regulators also noted that Rice’s literature claimed that his company could offer FDIC-insured bank accounts and bank transactions. The company also claimed to have a partnership with Visa. All of those statements were false.
The FBI arrested Rice in late November 2018. Federal prosecutors charged Rice and his partner, Stanley Ford, with securities fraud and wire fraud. Earlier this month, Rice pleaded guilty to a single count of securities fraud. The court has already ordered the men to disgorge more than $2.2 million in cash assets and nearly $70,000 in interest on the funds. Additionally, each man must pay a fine of nearly $185,000. The fines and fees do not preclude additional restitution orders. Rice will return to court on July 11 for sentencing. At that time, the judge could assign a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Securities fraud lawyer
When you face charges for investment fraud, hire an experienced securities fraud lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend takes federal criminal defense cases in any federal circuit in the United States.
Securities can be governed by both civil and criminal laws. When you face criminal charges for investment fraud, your best defense is to hire an experienced federal criminal attorney to defend you. Federal prosecutors are aggressive and well-resourced. They will not drop a case they believe they can win. To defend yourself, you need an attorney who is aggressive and has federal defense experience.
Don’t assume that a guilty plea is your best option, and don’t assume that you can’t win in federal court. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.
Photo Credit: Richard Patterson, via Flickr.com