From 2004 through 2010, PCI sold at least $485 million of bonds to life settlement investment companies located in various countries, including the United States, the Netherlands, Germany, Canada and elsewhere. PCI’s clients, in turn, sold investment offerings backed by PCI’s bonds to thousands of investors around the world. Purchasers of PCI’s bonds were allegedly required to make up-front payments of six to 11 percent of the underlying settlement as “premium” payments to PCI before the company would issue the bonds. Court records state that Castillo received approximately $84,000 from his work as the purported outside auditor of PCI from 2004 through 2010.
Vargas, a citizen and resident of Costa Rica, was convicted on April 30, 2012, of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, three counts of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. On Oct. 23, 2012, he was sentenced to 60 years in prison. PCI pleaded guilty on April 18, 2012, to conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and was sentenced on Sept. 6, 2012, to one year of probation.
This investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and FBI, with assistance from the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the Texas State Securities Board and the New Jersey Bureau of Securities. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael S. Dry and Jessica Aber Brumberg of the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Chief Albert B. Stieglitz Jr. of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) conducted a parallel investigation and in January 2011 filed a parallel civil enforcement action against PCI, Vargas and Castillo. The department thanks the SEC for its assistance in this matter.
The investigation has been coordinated by the Virginia Financial and Securities Fraud Task Force, an unprecedented partnership between criminal investigators and civil regulators to investigate and prosecute complex financial fraud cases in the nation and in Virginia specifically. The task force is an investigative arm of the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, an interagency national task force.