A 72-year-old Westport man faces a maximum jail term of 40 years after pleading guilty Thursday to multiple offenses stemming from an investment fraud scheme.
U.S. Attorney for Connecticut John H. Durham said Barton Stuck will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer on Jan. 22.
According to a release, Stuck controlled related business entities, including Signal Lake General Partner LLC, Signal Lake Operations LLC, Signal Lake Management LLC, Signal Lake Side Fund LP, Signal Lake Side Fund II LP, Signal Lake Side Fund IIA LP, Signal Lake Top Prospects Fund, and SLT Logic LLC (collectively, the “Signal Lake entities”). The Signal Lake entities were venture capital vehicles investing in various technology companies. Stuck solicited investments for the Signal Lake entities.
“In pleading guilty, Stuck admitted that he committed fraud in 2015 and 2016 by, among other things, misrepresenting the financial health and prospects of the Signal Lake entities and their investments in order to enrich himself. In one instance, Stuck made misrepresentations to an undercover FBI agent posing as a prospective investor.
“Stuck falsely guaranteed a payment of twice the original $500,000 investment, falsely claimed that a Signal Lake entity had $200 million in a particular bank account, and falsely stated that a $50,000 fee would be used for accounting and legal expenses,” according to the release.
Stuck also admitted he made false statements in forms that he filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2016 and 2017. Specifically, Stuck falsely claimed that a Signal Lake entity managed and had a gross asset value of $145 million, and was subject to annual audits by a Stamford accounting firm.
On Feb. 21, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Stuck with one count of wire fraud, one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions, and two counts of making false statements to the SEC. Thursday, Stuck pleaded guilty to all four counts of the indictment.
Stuck was released on a $100,000 bond pending sentencing.
Signal Lake investors who believe that they may be victims of this investment scheme are encouraged to contact FBI Special Agent Mark Munster at 203-777-6311.
This investigation is being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Francis.