A Valparaiso man
has been accused by the FBI of defrauding a California woman out of hundreds
of thousands of dollars in an investment scam and then stalking her after
she filed a civil suit against him.
complaint filed on Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond names
William Cantrell Jr.
According to the
complaint, filed by FBI Special Agent Eric Field, Cantrell operated--from at
least December 2010--The Dragon Fund L.P., purportedly a legitimate private
hedge fund. In fact, Field stated in the complaint, “The Dragon Fund was not
a registered or legitimate hedge fund.”
Sometime in 2010,
Field stated, Cantrell made the acquaintance of a California woman whom he
persuaded to invest in The Dragon Fund: first $316,074.20 from an existing
investment account; then an additional $431,141.82 from an existing
retirement account; and finally $65,860.
From Jan. 1, 2011,
through Dec. 31, 2012, Cantrell sent the woman quarterly statements which
showed a net increase in her investment of $47,623. But when, in March 2013,
the woman wanted a $120,000 distribution from her Dragon Fund account--to
buy a home for her mother--Cantrell informed her she would have to wait
until June. Then, in June, Cantrell scheduled a wire transfer, then
postponed it, re-scheduled it, and postponed it once again, Field stated.
On July 18, 2013,
Cantrell overnighted a package to the woman which contained not a cashier’s
check--as he’d promised--but an unrelated stock quote, Field stated.
Cantrell’s explanation: he’d mixed up her overnight package with someone
At this point the
woman confronted him and Cantrell told her that The Dragon Fund “had no
money,” that it hadn’t had money since January 2011, and that he had
falsified her quarterly statements, Field stated.
subsequently filed a civil suit against Cantrell which, according to Field,
prompted Cantrell to contact the woman’s employer by email and letter, in an
apparent effort to discredit her and cause her to be fired. Specifically,
Field stated, Cantrell told her employer that the woman had “divulged
confidential information to him” and asked the employer to post her
termination on Facebook.
Then, earlier this
month, Cantrell was formally charged in California with burglary, stalking,
and possession of a concealed dagger, after he was found “passed out” on the
woman’s porch, after attempting to break into her home, Field stated.
An analysis of The
Dragon Fund indicates that money invested in it was lost in a number of
ways, Field stated: “actually lost in the market; payouts to some investors;
money transferred to Cantrell’s personal account for his services; large
amount of money improperly transferred to Cantrell’s personal account; money
improperly withdrawn by Cantrell to gamble with at the casinos.”
An analysis of
Cantrell’s personal bank account from Dec. 29, 2009, through Nov. 30, 2013,
showed deposits from The Dragon Fund totaling $831,271.90; withdrawals of
$334,045.43 to various casinos; cash withdrawals of $169,100.57; and
withdrawals of $160,779.45 for general living expenses, Field stated.
On Sept. 30, 2012,
The Dragon Fund had a balance of $20.62, Field stated. On Sept. 27, 2013,
Cantrell’s personal bank account had a balance of $47.16.
the results of his investigation in this way:
* “The purpose of
Cantrell’s scheme was to defraud investors out of large amounts of money,
often times the investor’s life savings and retirement accounts.”
* “He kept up his
fraud by providing false quarterly statements to each investor showing a
very good rate of return.”
* “All investors
were happy with their investment, as they believed they were earning a lot
* “When the scheme
began to unravel, and following the filing of a federal civil lawsuit,
Cantrell began a campaign of emailing (the California woman’s) boss in an
attempt to discredit her, causing her substantial emotional distress, and
finally traveled from the State of Indiana to the State of California and
attempted to break into (the woman’s) home, while possessing gloves and a
knife, the result of which caused (the woman) to be placed in fear of
serious bodily injury or death.”