Moreno Valley Man Sentenced to Over Eight Years For Ponzi Scheme Involving Commodities Futures Investment

FBI * 11000 Wilshire Blvd. * Los Angeles, CA 90024 * 310-996-3343,3804,4402
For Immediate Release
DATE: October 7, 2009 –

A Moreno Valley man who admitted to victimizing over 100 investors in an investment “Ponzi”-style scheme was sentenced to more than eight years in prison, announced George Cardona, Acting United States Attorney in Los Angeles, Keith Bolcar, Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI in Los Angeles and Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Los Angeles Field Office.

U.S. District Judge R. John F. Walter sentenced Robert Bame, 39, on Tuesday afternoon to 97 months incarceration and 36 months of supervised release. In addition, Bame was ordered to pay $16,038,568.68 in restitution to his victims, and a special assessment fee of $300.00. In June 2009, Bame pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering following his arrest in November 2008 by agents with the FBI and the IRS.

According to court documents, Bame convinced victims to invest in contracts for index-based futures and told investors the contracts were traded using a unique computer program that maximized profits. Most investors were told their money was being invested in the commodities futures market. Bame described these investments as profitable, when the vast majority of investors’ money was actually transferred to Bame’s personal bank accounts and diverted for his personal use.
An investigation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission found that Bame opened a new commodities futures trading account in the name of Forward

Investment at Transact Futures in February 2007. In the account agreement with Transact Futures, Bame falsely indicated that no other person had a financial interest in the account. Bame deposited investor funds into the account totaling approximately $605,000 during the following months. Bame sent investors forged account statements on Transact Futures letterhead that, on one occasion, suggested the account had a total net value of over $77 million, whereas the true value of the account was only $4,486. Another false statement purported to show 97 Forward Investment sub-accounts for the various investors. with balances totaling over $61 million. Investigators found that Bame used the large majority of investors’ funds to charter private jets and for the purchase of multiple vehicles and other personal items.
This case was investigated by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service and investigators with the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Riverside, California.

Media Contact:
U. S. Attorney’s Office:
Public Affairs: Thom Mrozek: 213 894-6947
Assistant United States Attorney Charles Kovats: 951 276-6924
FBI: Los Angeles: Laura Eimiller: 310 996-3343
RS: Special Agent Angie Ortanez: 619 615-9036

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