Friday, February 22, 2013

Former Treasurer of Foundation Supporting UH Athletics Guilty of Fraud

Here's a sad tale of events all too close to my home.  In Ex-UH Booster Fund Treasurer Pleads Guilty to Fraud, the Houston Chronicle reports that Brian Bjork, once an investment counselor and associate of the late David Salinas of Ponzi scheme fame, has entered a plea of guilty in a federal wire fraud case in which he was alleged to have misappropriated $550,000 from the Houston Athletics Foundation.  The charity is described as “an independently administered booster fund for UH athletics.”  The Chronicle reports the details of the scam as follows:

Bjork, according to the plea agreement, opened a bank account in which he siphoned off money from current and former family members - in one case, a recent widow - allegedly for investment in Salinas' corporate bonds or pawn shops that Salinas owned, but actually for his own use. He also wrote fictitious account statements, prosecutors said.

Also, using his position as treasurer of the Houston Athletics Foundation ... Bjork deposited about $550,000 of HAF funds into the account, according to the prosecutors.

The story explains that evidence of the fraud was uncovered during the government’s investigation of Salinas – an investigation “which has resulted in claims of more than $50 million by creditors who purchased nonexistent corporate bonds from Salinas and his companies Select Asset Management and the J. David Group of Companies.”

For additional coverage of the story in the Boston Herald, see here.


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