During his allocution in US Federal Court, former GPB Capital exec, and now convicted criminal, Jeff Lash entered a guilty plea to one count of wire fraud. In doing so, Lash directly implicated GPB Capital’s sole owner David Gentile in wire fraud.
Lash agreed to forfeit $3.3 million in his personal assets as part of his plea deal. Scroll down to read the forfeiture order. Lash’s guilty plea means that he will testify against David Gentile at Gentile’s upcoming criminal trial.
During the allocution, Lash’s defense attorney told the court that there was no possible legal defense against the one count of wire fraud to which Lash plead guilty. Indeed, the weight of the evidence was too much for Lash to overcome: There was one simple bank transfer of $1,050,000 from Lash’s personal account into a business account owned by David Gentile. The money was booked as revenue by David Gentile in order to defraud investors.
If Gentile is convicted of this one count of wire fraud he faces up to 240 months in prison. However it is worse than this as Gentile and his co-defendant Jeffry Schneider are facing four felony charges that could put them in prison for a much longer period of time given their $1.7 billion Ponzi-like scheme to defraud 17,000 investors.
In 2019, Las Vegas resident Edwin Fujinaga was sentenced to 50 years in prison for running a comparable Ponzi scheme of $1.5 billion dollars. Fujinaga was also ordered to pay $1.1 billion in restitution and forfeited $813 million. From a US DoJ press release on the Fujinaga case:
The former president and CEO of MRI International Inc. (MRI), a purported investment company and medical collections business located in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Tokyo, Japan, was sentenced to 50 years in prison today for his role in a $1.5 billion Ponzi scheme…
Edwin Fujinaga, 72, of Las Vegas, was sentenced by Chief Judge Gloria Navarro of the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, who also sentenced Fujinaga to three years of supervised release, ordered restitution in the amount of $1,129,409,449 and forfeiture in the amount of $813,297,912.65. In November 2018, after a five-week trial, Fujinaga, was found guilty of eight counts of mail fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering in connection with his Ponzi scheme.
Scientologist David Gentile is now of more concern than ever to Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs. For example, several fellow Scientologists worked for GPB Capital and they may be subpoenaed in the case.
The Church of Scientology itself will likely face US Federal clawback law if Gentile is found guilty. As in the Reed Slatkin Ponzi scheme, the US Government will go after the monies Gentile and his wife Joanne donated to Scientology.