Oregon Attorney General John Kroger has announced the conviction of Medford, Ore.-area developer and mortgage broker, James C. Nistler, in a complex real estate Ponzi scheme to defraud investors. Nistler, who was a high-ranking U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) official in the late 1980s, was unanimously convicted of one count of racketeering, eight counts of securities fraud and eight counts of aggravated theft in the first degree. The racketeering count included an additional 32 separate predicate crimes. The Oregon Department of Justice prosecuted the case with the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities.
"This cases involved unconscionable scheme to prey on the elderly," said Attorney General Kroger. "I want to thank the Division and Finance and Corporate Securities for their work on this case."
The scheme centered on Tennessee Acres, a proposed housing development in Medford, Ore. Nistler took in $1.2 million from investors to build houses, but actually spent less than $400,000 of the money on the project. Nistler was unlicensed and the securities he sold were unregistered. About a dozen investors, mostly elderly, lost more than $800,000.
"Nistler violated a variety of securities laws and provided misleading information to investors, many of whom were elderly and vulnerable," said David Tatman, administrator of the Department of Consumer and Business Services' Division of Finance and Corporate Securities. "Oregonians should always research investments and salespeople thoroughly before investing."
The case was prosecuted by Senior Assistant Attorney General Rachel Bridges of the Oregon Department of Justice and Jason Weber of the Division of Finance and Corporate Securities (DFCS). Tippi Pearse of DFCS assisted on the case. Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston also assisted.
Attorney General Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.
For more information, visit www.dfcs.oregon.gov or www.doj.state.or.us.