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Westminster man pleads guilty in federal court to mail fraud scheme

A former Westminster resident accused of stealing almost $2 million from clients pleaded guilty in federal court to mail fraud Wednesday.

Jasper Buck, 59, of Florida, faces 63 months in prison if the court accepts the plea agreement, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 2.

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According to the release, Buck worked for mortgage companies but convinced investors he was an experienced adviser through Portfolio Financial Group.

Buck was a signatory for PFG and the company's addresses were listed as Buck's personal address or shipping and packaging stores, but he told investors there were other owners and employees, according to the release.

Between 2006 and 2014, Buck told victims PFG would loan money they provided to borrowers who needed the funds quickly and were willing to pay high interest rates because they couldn't get traditional bank loans, according to the release. Buck used the funds for his personal use.

Some victims were persuaded to refinance their home mortgages and use lines of credit to get money to invest with Buck. He, in turn, promised they would receive a monthly return on their investments, according to the release.

Buck used some of the money provided to pay other victims to convince them their investment was paying off, according to the release.

In January 2014, Buck exhausted all of the victims' funds and made various misrepresentations about the state of the company, including that PFG was updating software, was slowed by new federal regulations or was being sold to another company, according to the release.

As a result of the scheme, Buck obtained at least $1.9 million, according to the release.

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