After a Georgia couple wired $170,000 from their sprinkler company with Norman Strell Castleberry Financial Services, a Wellington investment firm, they were promised they would get a good return on their investment and that their money would be protected. Instead, the couple’s $170,000 was used to help purchase a lavish $1.5 million home off Paddock Drive at which the head of the currently shuttered real estate investment company live.
In court documents unsealed Thursday, an FBI representative stated the Georgia couple, who were identified only by their initials, were one of 12 investors who were bilked out of $2.8 million by Castleberry Financial Services Group.
History of Investment Fraud
The Securities and Exchange Commission said the losses are more. When cabinet supervisors in March persuaded a federal magistrate to shut Castleberry to avoid further fraud, they estimated it had swindled more than 3.6 million from 15 financiers all over the country. The claims business representatives made to shareholders were as fake as the certificates hung by Jonathan Turner, the firm president in his workplace as claimed by the FBI agent.
Turner claimed to have a law degree from William Howard Taft University and a master’s degree in business administration from Emory University. In reality, he had never gone to school and had changed his name from Jon Barri Brothers to Jonathan Turner, FBI spy Jason Darling noted. Instead, Turner is a convicted felon who was released from prison in 2016 following serving a seven-year stint about 25 fraud-related fees he racked up in Miami.
Turner, 52, appeared in U.S. District Court on Thursday to Face a charge of wire fraud concerning Castleberry’s operations. He is to be arraigned on May 10 about the fee that is punishable with a maximum 30-year prison term.
In its petition for a controlling Order to close Castleberry, the SEC named 72-year-old Norma Strell Castleberry Financial along with his 44-year-old daughter, Suzanne Strell, as officials of the firm. Suzanne Strell is engaged to be married to Turner. Norman Strell In November was charged with filing a false insurance claim after state insurance researchers claimed he filed a bogus $8,900 bill for damages he blamed Hurricane Irma. In March, he agreed to repay the insurance company as part of a deferred prosecution agreement.
Neither Strell nor his daughter has now been charged in connection with their roles at Castleberry, according to court records. But, in the criminal complaint filed against Turner, the FBI representative refers to “defendants” and mentions both Strell and his daughter a portion of the fruits of Castleberry’s activities.
On its site and in media interviews, Castleberry encouraged itself as a wise investor in real estate and distressed businesses. It touted a five-year history of “deploying nearly $800 million in capital throughout the balance sheets of leading local businesses,” Darling wrote. Yields of roughly 8 percent to 13 percent each year. Additionally, it claimed, top insurers shielded the investors’ money. Neither claim was true,” Darling said.
Likewise, Rather than investing in distressed Businesses and real estate, Turner along with other unnamed “defendants” used investors’ money as their personal piggy bank, Darling said.
For Example, the broker said, at least $427,000 was utilized to purchase and improve the sprawling house overlooking a golf course the three common in Wellington. Still, another $238,000 ended up in a bank account belonging to both Turner and Suzanne Strell. Another $377,000 was funneled into Castleberry All Sports, a business owned by Turner and Norman Strell.
The business operated from April 2016 until February, when federal agents raided it.
SEC Alleges $3.6M Investor Fraud Castleberry Financial Services
The FBI fraud allegations against Norman Strell are just some of the problems for Castleberry Financial. Recently, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed fraud charges against Castleberry Financial Services, its CEO Norman M. Strell and President T. Jonathon Turner were accused of operating an investment firm that scammed $3.6 million from its financiers and continues to seek new financiers. An order of asset freeze was also declared by the supervisor against the organization’s operators. Castleberry is a limited liability firm based in Florida and is not enlisted in the SEC.
As stated by the Commission’s emergency actions:
- Castleberry mislead investors as it stated that it had a huge number of investment properties along with hundreds of millions invested in local businesses. The truth is, it never made a noteworthy amount from its investments.
- Moreover, it reportedly hid the criminal records of its President, Turner, whose original name is John Barri Brothers, had spent 18 years in prison for numerous offenses like theft, forgery, and fraud, and was released in 2016. It also claimed that Turner had JD and MBA degrees as well as extensive experience in the funding industry. In reality, all these claims were wrong and he had never been enlisted in the SEC.
- Strell, the CEO of Castleberry, was charged last November with forgery and fraudulent and false insurance claims. He is not registered with SEC but had enrolled earlier with quite a few broker-dealers.
- It was informed to investors that their money would be invested in distressed businesses and property. In reality, Turner and Strell used the money for themselves by investing it in other businesses they operated along with transferring the funds to their relatives.
- The company endorsed high returns and “principal-protected ‘equity-like’ fixed capital returns.” They notified people that their money will be insured and bonded by CAN Financial Group and Chubb Group, two firms that had nothing to do with Castleberry.
The Investment Loss Recovery Group attorneys are helping investors for recovering the losses that they sustained due to fraud, neglect, and other wrongdoings. Investment Loss Recovery Group would like to give you a complimentary, no obligation instance consultation in order that we will help you decide if you have a proof for a claim by calling 1 (888) 628) 5590.
Tom Barron has Bachelors Degree from Michigan State, MBA from University of Miami and worked as equities trader for Bank of America. When he is covering investment news, he is spending time with his family. Hobbies include golf and travel.