ST. LOUIS – Bryan Binkholder, 43, of Wentzville, Mo., was indicted on multiple fraud charges involving his financial planning and investment strategy businesses, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Eastern District of Missouri.
According to the indictment, Binkholder labeled himself “The Financial Coach” and provided investment and financial planning advice to the general public through his affiliated websites, YouTube channel, published books and articles and an investment related talk-radio show that aired on local radio stations.
In 2008, he developed a real estate investment he termed “hard money lending.” Using his platform as an investment advisor and financial talk show host, Binkholder solicited his clients and others to invest in the hard money lending program.
As part of his sales pitch, he represented that he had relationships with developers in the real estate community who wanted to purchase, renovate and sell residential real estate in the St. Louis area, but were not able to secure financing from traditional banks.
As part of the hard money lending program, Binkholder told investors that they would invest money with him, and he would act as a bank and provide short term loans to these developers at a high rate of interest which would be shared with the investor.
Instead of exclusively making hard money loans as promised, he commingled the vast majority of investor money across a number of different accounts. Binkholder then allegedly used the commingled funds to pay interest to subsequent investors and pay personal expenses.
The indictment states that Binkholder took in millions of dollars of investor money, made only a small number of hard money loans and caused investors to lose more than $3 million.
Binkholder was indicted by a federal grand jury on four felony counts of wire fraud and one felony count of bank fraud. He was expected to appear in federal court Thursday.
Additionally, upon a finding of guilt, the defendant will be subject to a forfeiture allegation, which will require the forfeiture to the government all monies and property derived from the illegal activity.
If convicted, each of the charges carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and/or fines up to $1 million. In determining the actual sentences, a judge is required to consider the U.S. sentencing guidelines, which provide recommended sentencing ranges.
This case was investigated by the FBI and the Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Casey is handling the case for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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