A barred broker and investment advisor was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $3 million for his part in a $102 million Ponzi scheme.
Thomas Brenner, a 60-year-old broker from Orrville, Ohio, and former president of First American Securities, was given a 125-month sentence, a nearly $3.5 million restitutionary fine and three years of supervised release for his part in a scheme that defrauded more than 600 investors. Brenner was specifically accused of persuading clients, some of whom had taken money out of retirement accounts, to invest in a company called United RL Capital Services supposedly to finance medical laboratory developments.
Brenner, according to prosecutors in federal court in Cleveland, instead used the money for purchases related to sports cars and to pay back taxes. He would make sporadic payments to lull his clients into thinking their money was safe, prosecutors said.
Brenner pleaded guilty in April to charges including mail, wire and securities fraud. He was barred from the brokerage business in 2017 after failing to cooperate with inquiries made by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. First American Securities was expelled the same year for not paying more than $300,000 in fines.
The following year, Brenner was accused with four other defendants and various firms by the Securities and Exchange Commission for their parts in the same scheme.
Federal prosecutors filed criminal fraud charges against Brenner in October 2021. His lawyer in the case, federal public defender Carolyn Kucharski, declined to comment.
Several of Brenner’s associates have also received lengthy prison sentences. Christopher Parris, another banned broker, was sentenced in December in federal court in Buffalo, New York, to 20 years and four months both for his role in that massive investor fraud and for misrepresenting himself as a seller of respirator masks during the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly a year before, his accomplice Perry Santillo, who often went by the name “King Perry,” was given 17.5 years.
Investigators said the pair would promise to invest clients’ money in companies that were secretly controlled by Parris and Santillo. Few of the companies, including First Nationle Solution, Percipience Global Corporation, Middlebury Development and NexMedical Solutions, were legitimate business concerns.