Final arguments are set for Wednesday in the trial of a Texas investment manager accused of orchestrating a $50 million Ponzi scheme. Kurt Barton, of Austin, Texas, has been on trial for over a week in a Texas federal court, where he stands accused of nearly forty charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud, making false statements to secure loans, and money laundering. If convicted of the charges, Barton faces a maximum sentence that could amount to several effective life sentences.
Barton, the former chief executive of Triton Financial, is accused of operating a Ponzi scheme between December 2005 and December 2009 that raised approximately $75 million from investors. According to the indictment, potential investors were offered varying deals involving real estate, including entailing investments in existing real estate or the promise to purchase real estate with investor funds. Barton allegedly employed former professional athletes, such as Ty Detmer and Chris Weinke, to act as salesmen for the deals and to lend credibility to the business. Former NFL kicker Ty Detmer is listed as another victim of Barton's scheme. Barton's attorneys have contested the charges, portraying Barton as an honest businessman who fell victim to ill-advised land deals and a faltering economy. Barton chose not to testify in the trial.
A federal jury will be asked to deliberate Barton's fate following closing arguments. A receiver has been appointed to recover assets for the benefit of defrauded investors, but reports have indicated that not enough funds exist to fully repay investors.