Melissa Marie Ramon: Sentenced, 10 Years

May 10

Melissa Marie Ramon of Bellaire on May 10 was sentenced to serve 10 years in federal prison for an investment scam that was investigated by the State Securities Board and prosecuted by the U.S. District Attorney's Office in Houston. U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore also ordered Ramon to pay $3,094,000 in restitution.

The investigation revealed that Ramon raised $4 million from investors – primarily in Texas and Colorado – to use in a non-existent loan program run by JaxTrece Exclusive Investments LLC.

Ramon told investors that money would be used to provide short-term funding for non-profits and other entities that receive grants from federal, state or private sources. Ramon claimed that JaxTrece was an established European firm, that she was its chief research officer, and that she held a Ph.D from Rice University – all claims that the state investigation proved to be false.

Ramon has been in federal custody since June 2009 and pleaded guilty in August 2009. Texas Securities Commissioner Denise Voigt Crawford issued an Emergency Cease and Desist Order against Ramon and JaxTrece in 2007.