According to the Department of Justice (DOJ) William Hightower, a 60-year-old resident of Bellaire was charged with a 13-count indictment charging him with wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. The charges claim that he was the president of Hightower Capital Group (HCG) founded it in 2010 and held himself out to be an investment advisor. The charges outline that Hightower took money from clients from 2013-2018 and made false promises as to their investments when in reality he was conducting a Ponzi Scheme.
Hightower would allegedly tell investors their money was being invested in various projects, such as restaurants, movies, insurance contracts. However, DOJ alleges that none of these projects existed and that instead Hightower received more than $10 million from investors and used investor funds to pay earlier investors in a Ponzi Scheme and to pay himself and fund his lifestyle.
The DOJ also charges that Hightower also concealed from his clients that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) had barred him in October 2015. The DOJ stated that if convicted, Hightower faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count as well as possible fines.
According to BrokerCheck records kept by FINRA Hightower has six customer complaints – most of which relate to the alleged securities fraud activities.