A man liable for $14 million obtained in a Ponzi-style investment scheme that took place in and around Mission Viejo has been ordered to pay $41 million back to investors, but so far he has avoided criminal charges.
A civil judgment issued earlier this month against Gordon Alan Driver requires him to pay more than $41 million to defrauded investors. Driver was found responsible for defrauding more than 100 investors while living in Mission Viejo between February 2006 and May 2009.
Though he lived in Mission Viejo, Driver used his Nevada-based company Axcess Automation to solicit investments. He told his victims he had built stock futures investment software that averaged 1 percent to 5 percent in returns per week, and that one month it delivered a 43 percent return on investments, said attorney Jordan Maglich.
In fact, Driver lost 95 percent of his investment according to the final judgment resulting from a federal injunctive complaint filed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
He also sent out periodical statements that claimed the investment plan was working. Court documents show that in February 2009, Driver sent a letter to 48 investors claiming their investment had $9.6 million in the bank. "In fact, Driver only held a total of approximately $276,000," the statement said.
District Court Judge Otis D. Wright ordered Driver to pay the $41 million in restitution by July 22. Wright added that any bank account with Driver's name on it can be seized to help pay the restitution.
Driver was permanently banned from trading securities last September, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Driver has never been convicted of an investment crime and has so far avoided prison time, according to Maglich. The disgraced investor could be charged in the future, but Maglich says the courts have a five-year statute of limitations, meaning his alleged crimes could not be pursued after May 2014.