Former Candidate for Tennessee Congress Sentenced to Four Years for Running Ponzi Scheme

A Tennessee man who once was featured on the most-wanted list of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was sentenced to four years in federal prison for operating a Ponzi scheme ultimately causing over $500,000 in losses to its investors.  Jeffrey L. Cassman, 35, a former financial advisor and a one-time candiate for the Tennessee House of Representatives, pled guilty in December 2010 to felony counts of mail fraud and securities fraud.  Cassman faced a maximum sentence of twenty years in federal prison for each charge.

According to an indictment unsealed in late 2008, Cassman ran a Ponzi scheme from January 2003 to November 2005, representing to investors that he would invest in tax liens and other types of investments. These investments, according to Cassman, were risk-free, and promised high rates of annual return.  However, Cassman never invested in tax liens or any other investments, and instead misappropriated investor funds to pay personal expenses. Among Cassman's victims were friends, family, and members of Cassman's church.  

Upon learning of impending charges, Cassman fled the country with his wife and nine children.  After nearly two years on the run, he was apprehended near Antigua, Guatemala and extradited back to the United States.