A Texas man was convicted of orchestrating a $50 million Ponzi scheme whose victims included members of a church congregation and former professional football players. Kurt Barton, 44, had faced thirty-nine criminal counts relating to his former tenure at the helm of Triton Financial, which prosecutors said was nothing more than a giant Ponzi scheme. Barton faces decades in prison after being convicted of conspiracy, securities fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud, five counts of false statement related to a loan and 17 counts of money laundering.
According to prosecutors, Barton took in more than $75 million from nearly 300 investors while operating Triton Financial. Of that amount, only $20 million was spent on legitimate operations, while the remainder went to fund Barton's lavish lifestyle, fund business operations, and to make interest payments to existing investors. Barton solicited investors that their funds would be used for a variety of purported legitimate business activities, including real estate investment and short-term business lending. Barton also employed several former NFL players, including Ty Detmer and Chris Weinke, to promote the business to outside investors. Several of those players also lost money with Barton.
United States District Judge Sam Sparks ordered Barton jailed despite pleas from his attorneys to remain free on bond until sentencing. The United States Probation Department will prepare a sentencing report with a recommended sentence. Sentencing is currently scheduled for November 4.
A copy of the indictment is here.
The website of the Receiver appointed over Triton Financial is here.