Burlington County man sentenced to five years in prison for defrauding investors

A Burlington County man was sentenced Wednesday to 65 months in prison for defrauding several investors of more than $1.5 million, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig said.

Brett Cooper, 44, of Moorestown previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden to a charge of money laundering.

Cooper and two other people created a “high-yield bank scheme” and solicited investments from multiple investors, telling them that they could double or triple their initial investments in 60 to 90 days. Cooper set up several shell companies, including a company he named Peninsula Water Development and another named Dream Holdings, and he had the investors wire money to bank accounts that he had set up for these shell companies. Cooper admitted that he never invested any of the money and that he transferred the money to his personal accounts, using it to pay his living expenses and other personal expenditures. Cooper also wired some of the money from the investors to his two other conspirators. A total of eight victims lost money due to the fraudulent scheme.

Previously, Cooper was found liable for damages related to the fraud scheme in a civil case brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the civil case, Cooper was ordered to pay more than $2 million in damages and fines in November 2015. In addition to the prison term, the judge Wednesday sentenced Cooper to three years of supervised release and fined him $25,000.