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May 31 2016

Father and son charged with fraud over tribal bonds

A father and son are facing criminal and securities charges over allegedly fraudulent investments in Native American tribal bonds. The U.S. Attorney’s office announced criminal charges against Jason and John Galanis and five other individuals. In a parallel action, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged the same individuals with fraud, alleging that they used false tribal bonds to defraud investors and convert millions of dollars in proceeds to their own use.

The SEC alleged in its report that Jason Galanis, who was previously charged with accounting and stock fraud in unrelated cases, conducted the operation, claiming that Galanis wrote in an email to associates that the “primary objective” of the plan was to obtain “discretionary liquidity.”

The SEC further alleged that Galanis and his father, John Galanis, structured limited recourse bonds and persuaded a Native American tribal entity affiliated with the Oglala Sioux Nation to issue them. The SEC claims that Galanis then installed officers at two investment firms to use clients’ funds to purchase $43 million in bonds. According to the SEC, the funds were transferred to a bank account in Florida controlled by Galanis and his associates, where they were used to purchase luxury goods.

The SEC is seeking permanent injunctions and disgorgement plus penalties and interest, as well as officer-and-director bans against four of the individuals.