In 1994 John Paulson founded Paulson & Co. Inc., among the most famous (or depending upon your perspective, infamous) hedge funds. Suffice it to say, John Paulson and Paulson & Co. Inc. are well known on Wall Street. If you've been following the public debate about Goldman Sachs and its subprime portfolios, you probably are familiar with Paulson and his fund: Senator Levin Slams Department of Justice's Inaction Against Goldman Sachs (Street Sweeper, August 10, 2012).
Less well known are John Henley Fowler, 63, and his son Jeffrey Robert Fowler, 35, both of Ft. Myers, FL.
John Paulson, Paulson & Co. Inc, and the Fowlers have something in common - or, to be more precise, they actually don't.
Starting around December 2010 through November 2011, the Fowlers solicited investors to wire funds into bank accounts they controlled for investment in a purported gold futures investment program. And not just any gold futures program but one supposedly run by Paulson & Co. Inc.
Being imbued with the American spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation, the Fowlers created a Florida corporation: Paulson & Co. Inc. ("Paulson-Florida"), through which office space was leased and corporate bank accounts opened. If you didn't know any better, you might have thought that this Paulson-Florida was one and the same as the real Paulson &Co.Inc. Which of course, appears to have been the Fowlers' plan. Certainly, it was not John Paulson's.
In any event, the Fowlers and their co-conspirators fraudulently represented that Paulson-Florida was a branch office of the real Paulson & Co. Inc. when, in fact, there was no connection between the two entities whatsoever. This was so successful a scam that the conspiracy convinced investors to send in over $4 million for the gold program. Not surprisingly, those funds were quickly diverted to personal uses by the crooks.
On September 18 and 19, 2012, Jeffrey Fowler and John Fowler, respectively, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. John Fowler faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison; Jeffrey Fowler faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.