The office of U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that Robert B. Hahn of Tyler, a former insurance agent, pleaded guilty Nov. 19 to money laundering and wire fraud in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing.
The case was investigated by the FBI Tyler Office, the IRS Criminal Investigations Division, the Texas State Securities Board, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.
Hahn collected $5.4 million dollars from investors who were promised 20% annual returns from investments in healthcare facilities and medical equipment. Hahn told investors he represented a group of physicians in Tyler who were raising capital for the construction of healthcare facilities, purchasing medical equipment, and retiring debt.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Hahn deposited investors' money into his personal or insurance business checking accounts. He operated a Ponzi scheme, paying the promised interest to some investors with money from earlier investors. When investors requested the principal loan or investment funds, Hahn paid them with checks drawn on his personal or insurance company accounts.
To keep the scheme going, Hahn returned or distributed approximately $4 million in supposed interest or earnings to certain individuals, according to the federal prosecutor's announcement. Hahn admitted there never was a group of doctors raising capital and said he fabricated the story to obtain funds for his personal use.
Hahn has been a licensed insurance agent in Texas since 1978. In July he competed in the National Masters Track & Field Championship in Florida and was reported to be planning to compete in the Masters Track & Field Championships in South Korea in 2017.