A Jacksonville man will spend the next ten years in federal prison for carrying out a Ponzi scheme that targeted public employees, many of whom were teachers, and ultimately caused more than $3 million in losses. Scott Anderson Hall, 50, received the sentence from U.S. District Judge Timothy Corrigan after previously pleading guilty to fraud and money-laundering charges. The sentence was in line with that requested by prosecutors, and Judge Corrigan openly questioned the sincerity of Hall's remorse and whether victims would ever see any of their money again.
Hall formed Abaco Securities International, a shell company in the Turks and Caicos islands, in 1999. Using his affiliation with various financial services companies, including AXA Advisors, Hall solicited clients to invest their retirement savings in an investment product known as ASI. Many of Hall's victims were employees of the Duval County School Board, including teachers and at least one principal. Hall promised annual returns ranging from 6% to 18%. In one particular example noted by prosecutors, Hall showed up at a the funeral of a North Carolina woman, although he did not know the woman or her husband, and followed the family to the funeral reception where he convinced the deceased woman's husband to invest the proceeds of a life insurance policy with him. In total, Hall took in more than $4 million from at least 50 investors.
According to authorities, however, Hall did not use investor funds as promised. Instead, Hall lived a luxurious lifestyle that included the purchase of commercial property and high-end automobiles. Hall also used investor funds to pay fictitious returns - a classic example of a Ponzi scheme. Hall's scheme lasted over a decade until it collapsed in 2011. He was indicted in January 2013 and pleaded guilty later that year.