Yet another of Middle Tennessee's myriad alleged investment scams of recent years has resulted in a criminal prosecution by the office of Nashville's U.S. Attorney, Ed Yarbrough.
Barron A. Mathis, a former vice president and portfolio manager of Franklin-based J.C. Reed & Co. Inc., faces charges of conspiracy and wire fraud as detailed in a filing made this week in U.S. District Court.
The charges coincide with yesterday's takedown of Hanover Corp. principals Terry Kretz and Robert Haley, who are accused of running an $18 million Ponzi scheme. Earlier this year, the feds sent disgraced financiers Gordon Grigg and Barry Stokes to prison (and Michael Park awaits sentencing).
The court filing alleges that Mathis sold some $11 million worth of stock in the Reed company to more than 100 people who were "mostly elderly and unsophisticated growth-oriented investors," without going through the required registration process. It says he conspired with others at the company to inflate the value of J.C. Reed Co. stock by "creating several wholly owned subsidiaries from which they arbitrarily reported 'future' earnings."
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against Mathis and other Reed-related parties last November, claiming they had engaged in investment fraud. Filings in that case had revealed that criminal charges were likely to be forthcoming against Mathis, and the civil case has been on hold pending resolution of any criminal matters.
J.C. Reed & Co. and a subsidiary filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and are currently in liquidation. Mathis filed for personal bankruptcy this year after a group of investors sued him over their losses. According to his bankruptcy filing, Mathis had a 2 percent ownership stake in J.C. Reed & Co., and the company paid him $162,000 in 2008 compensation.
A telephone listing in Franklin for the Mathis home is now out of service. Efforts to reach attorney Peter Strianse of Tune, Entrekin & White have been unsuccessful today.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Webb is prosecuting the case.