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[SOS] Vigo County man sentenced to 25 years for $1.3 million investment scam
Start Date: 9/27/2013 All Day
End Date: 9/27/2013
Entry Description

Investigation by Secretary of State’s office lands Terre Haute man in prison

INDIANAPOLIS (September 27, 2013) – Jason Severs of Terre Haute was sentenced to 25 years in prison as a result of an investment scam totaling more than $1.3 million. Severs swindled 30 investors including his family in a Ponzi scheme.

“This case is particularly devastating because Severs went after his own family,” said Secretary Lawson. “I hope this serves as a reminder to everyone that you should always check to make sure you are working with a licensed financial professional even if it is a family member or close friend because many scam artist take advantage of people they know.”

 

“I commend local law enforcement officials, Prosecutor Modesitt, and our Securities Division for their hard work in protecting Hoosiers from scam artist such as Severs.”

 

Severs offered his clients the opportunity to invest in a wide variety of overseas businesses ranging from construction to diamond cutting. He attracted clients by promising a 15 percent return on each investment, an unusually high rate. As with most Ponzi schemes, the scam began to crumble when investors didn’t receive the money they had been promised.

 

Severs tried to perpetuate the scheme by telling his victims numerous stories. He would tell victims he was traveling to Israel or Europe to take care of the businesses they were investing in or cited other conditions about the foreign businesses, as reasons for delays in payment. At times, he even told his victims he had cancer or that he was in a car accident to explain why he hadn’t answered their phone calls.

 

The investigation of Jason Severs began when one of his investors reported to police that she failed to receive payment. This prompted an investigation by the Secretary of State’s Prosecution Assistance Unit, which led to Prosecutor Modesitt filing a record number of 95 charges against Severs in August of 2011. In May of 2013, Severs plead guilty to securities fraud involving a person over the age of 60, selling unregistered securities and failing to register as a securities professional, a Class B felony and two Class C felonies respectively. Today, the court conducted the sentencing hearing. 

 

Diana Moers Davis and Kimberly Haskett handled the investigation and criminal referral of this case on behalf of the Prosecution Assistance Unit of the Secretary of State’s office. They worked closely with Sgt. Pete Holvey of the Terre Haute Police Department and Robert E. Roberts, Chief Deputy Prosecutor of the Vigo County Prosecutor’s office.

 

Prosecutor Terry Modesitt would prefer to not see anyone fall victim to such scams.  “For years, our office has been a partner with the Senior Education Ministries for their Fraud and Scam Awareness Expo to raise awareness of how to avoid these types of scams.  We would prefer that no one be victimized by predators such as Mr. Severs,” Mr. Modesitt stressed “but this case will hopefully send a message to these predators that you will be caught, you will be prosecuted, and we will seek prison time for you.”  Mr. Modesitt also thanked the Secretary of State and the Securities Division for the countless hours put into the investigation and prosecution of Mr. Severs.

 

For information on how to avoid becoming a victim of investment fraud visit www.indianainvestmentwatch.com.

Contact Information:
Name: Valerie Kroeger
Phone: 317-233-8655
Email: vkroeger@sos.IN.gov
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