Those red flags and more applied to Houston company Intermodal Wealth LLC, according to the Texas State Securities Commission, which announced an indictment recently unsealed by a federal court in Houston.
Intermodal Wealth offered investments in shipping containers used for rail, trucks and ships. The indictment, based on a State Securities Board investigation, alleges the company offered a guaranteed, unrealistically high, return of at least 13 to 16 percent.
John Patrick Acord, the company’s CFO, used the fictional name “John Delano.” Among other legal problems, Acord had two prior federal fraud convictions and had been enjoined twice by Securities and Exchange Commission civil actions , among other legal problems. Intermodal’s president, Steven Patrick Jones, also had a federal conviction for fraud in shipping and interstate commerce on his record.
The indictment charges Acord and Jones with multiple counts of wire and mail fraud as well as securities fraud. Jones and Acord allegedly collected at least $5.5 million from investors who were told they would receive big profits through Intermodal’s leasing of shipping containers to third parties.
Acord and Jones allegedly created sham lease agreements to fool investors and ran the company as a Ponzi scheme, making some payments to investors with money from other investors.
The Securities Commissioner entered a final Emergency Cease and Desist Order against Jones, Acord, Intermodal Wealth, and other parties in December 2013.