Although the product that Jason Adkins was purporting to buy and sell—oversize tires—was unusual, the operation of his scheme was not. It was right out of Ponzi’s playbook.”
An Ohio man was charged with, and has agreed to plead guilty to, allegations that he masterminded a $50 million Ponzi scheme that apparently offered above-average returns from buying and selling off-road tires. Jason Adkins, of Jackson, Ohio, will plead guilty to three counts of wire fraud, six counts related to money laundering, and one count of tax evasion as part of his plea agreement with federal prosecutors. The wire fraud and money laundering charges each carry a maximum twenty-year term while the tax evasion charge carries a maximum five-year term.
Adkins operated various companies, including Landash Corporation and Midwest Coal, LLC, telling potential investors that he specialized in the profitable purchase and resale of off-the-road tires typically used in earth-moving and mining equipment. Those investors were told that they could expect annual returns ranging from 15%-20% derived from Adkins’ purchase of tires at a steep discount and subsequent resale at a tidy profit. In total, Adkins raised more than $50 million from at least 46 investors.
According to prosecutors, Adkins ran a classic Ponzi scheme by using money from new investors to pay fictitious returns to existing investors. He also allegedly took steps to conceal the scheme by, for example, creating more than a dozen corporate bank accounts to receive investor funds and also sending investor funds through a long series of wire transfers to many bank accounts. Authorities also alleged that Adkins used investor funds to bankroll a lavish lifestyle that included, among other things, the purchase of cars, vacations and property. This included building a pool at his home and more than $20,000 in private jet lease payments.
It appears that Adkins’ scheme began to run into difficulties as far back as 2017 when he and his companies were the subject of multiple lawsuits. According to the lawsuits, Adkins sought purchase financing for transactions he had arranged involving off-road tires by providing fabricated work orders and sale documents. The purported transactions never took place and Adkins allegedly misappropriated those funds and failed to pay back the loan. After these lawsuits were filed, both Landash and Adkins filed bankruptcy in early 2018 which allowed them to stay those lawsuits.
The Department of Justice has asked that any victims of Adkins’s scheme should contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Coordinator, Barbara Vanarsdall, at 614-469-5715.