Justice Department flag in Washington
Justice Department flag in Washington. File photo

A San Marcos man is among four people charged in Arkansas with running an investment fraud scheme that allegedly took more than $16 million from victims, according to an indictment unsealed Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors allege that between 2013 and 2021, the defendants’ Arkansas-based firm The Brittingham Group solicited investments from victims, in which they promised “exorbitant investment returns” that were never produced.

The defendants are 65-year-old San Marcos resident Brian Brittsan; 53-year-old Arkansas resident John C. Nock; 66-year-old Utah resident Kevin Griffith; and 55-year-old Utah resident Alexander Ituma. The men are each charged with wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Brittsan — described as a director of TBG — is accused along with Nock, TBG’s founder, of directing victims to send money to bank accounts controlled by Griffith, Ituma and others. The defendants allegedly then “transferred the money through a complex web of bank accounts throughout the world.”

According to the indictment, victims were falsely told that the firm had a New York City office, an exclusive bank investment program through an unidentified financial institution, and established credit line facilities with several companies.

Victims were also promised large returns, according to the indictment, which says the victims’ principal payments were guaranteed to be safe via fraudulent letters bearing the letterhead of financial institutions.

The indictment alleges “no victim received the investment returns they were promised, and very few were able even to recoup their principal.”

When payments to the victims were delayed, Nock and Brittsan allegedly told victims that officials and/or government agencies in the countries where the investments were taking place were helping ensure the victims would be repaid and that this was delaying the money transfers.