The U.S. Attorney filed documents yesterday charging 30-year-old Anchorage resident Garrett Elder, sole owner of Tycoon Trading LLC, The Daily Bread Fund LLC, and other entities, with executing an investment scheme that resulted in approximately $25 million in losses to over 130 victims, many who are well known. The State of Alaska has said the investment company was operating illegally in Alaska.
From about 2016 through October 2022, Garrett Elder was running a scheme and convinced investors to give him between $30 and $34 million in investments. Over 138 victims are said to have lost their funds as Elder gambled them away in risky stock trades.
The scheme began about early 2016 when Elder’s parents provided Elder between $10,000 and $20,000 to invest in stocks and foreign currencies. Elder deposited those funds into an entity he had created called Tycoon Trading, LLC. He lost all of his parents’ funds.
Despite the losses, Elder told his family and friends about his trading business, and some expressed an interest in investing. Elder did not tell these targets of his scheme that he had lost the money provided by his parents. Instead, Elder gave victims the false impression that he was a successful trader.
Based on these omissions and false impressions, between 2016 and March 2018, investors transferred approximately $500,000 to Tycoon Trading for Elder to invest. Elder began losing money, yet created false quarterly performance reports for his victims, stating that the investments were earning positive returns. By March 2018, Elder had lost almost all the victims’ money while trading and only had approximately $10,000 to $15,000 left in his trading account.
In March 2018, Elder disclosed to the victims that their investments had failed, but he did not tell them he had falsified the quarterly performance reports he had been providing them.
Notwithstanding the near total losses, Elder continued to seek new investors, still claiming to be a successful trader. By the end of 2018, Elder had approximately 30 new investors who were investing substantially more money than the original group of investors.
In 2019, Elder created another entity called The Daily Bread Fund, LLC.
From 2019 through 2022, Elder continued to solicit new investors through Tycoon Trading and the Daily Bread Fund by claiming to be a successful trader and paying a limited amount of distributions to select investors to provide the appearance of investment successes.
While getting new investors, he continued to lost money. Despite continued mounting losses, Elder again created and emailed to investors fake reports indicating positive returns. Elder also used some of the victims’ money on personal expenditures, including real estate investments, vehicles, a boat, a camper, bicycles, tools, and jewelry.
In total, the amount of funds transferred to Elder via Tycoon Trading, The Daily Bread Fund, and related entities is presently estimated to be approximately $30 million to $34 million from 138 victim investors.
By October 2022, although some money was distributed back to certain investors, Elder had lost the majority of investments, resulting in approximately $25 million in losses to victims.
Elder has agreed to the government filing an “information charging him with wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343,” the U.S. Attorney for Alaska stated.
He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. If convicted, a federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The you believe you are a victim of Garrett Elder’s investment scheme, contact the FBI, which is the investigating agency, at: (907) 276-4441.
Meanwhile there are at least two civil lawsuits in Alaska against Garrett from investors who claim they were harmed by his scheme. In October, the Banking and Securities Division of the State of Alaska ordered him to stop, as he was not licensed for trading in Alaska.
Interesting. Is he only being charged w/ wire fraud? This is clearly an affinity scam, a ponzi scheme and the work of a serial liar. Why would the DOJ’s “information” imply that he’s only being charged w/ wire fraud?
On March 12, 2009, Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal felonies, including securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements, perjury, theft from an employee benefit plan, and making false filings with the SEC. For that he spent the rest of his life in prison occasionally being beaten by fellow inmates. Mr. Elder appears to have done all of that and more. I wonder whom exactly the complicit family members were that sat back and watched as Mr. Elder cratered the first company… then cratered the second company… and then the third.
In this example Elder stole more than $30mm, likely ratholed a significant portion away and will get out in less than twenty years having essentially been paid $1.5mm per year to play solitaire and smoke cigarettes. This is definitely not justice.
An Information is filed with one count when the defendant has agreed with DOJ to plea guilty. It’s a negotiated situation.
What kind of arrangement is this? A 30 year old guy that’s bilked millions upon millions from Alaskans walks into the FBI without an attorney and negotiates better than government professionals?
The maximum penalty is 20 years which would be a hell of a lot less assuming ‘good behavior’. If he did ten years he’s been paid @ $3mm per year to do nothing?
That’s a travesty. Tell me this can’t be true.
If other charges were a part of the equation, the judge may make the penalty for each count concurrent. Yes, the whole situation is a travesty. Hopefully, they (the prosecutor and the judge) don’t lose sight of the victims and what’s owed to them.
One can’t help but wonder why the DOJ thinks they have the authority to negotiate with money that doesn’t belong to them.
Putting this into better perspective the public deserves to share their Victim Impact Statement individually in court. The public also deserves to see the criminal appropriately charged. In this case he should be charged with securities fraud, mail fraud, money laundering, making false statements, wire fraud, theft from an employee benefits plan, making false filings w/ the SEC and more.
An empirical look at his history indicates clearly that he and his father both colluded to embezzle money from Tycoon Trading by setting up two different and at first blush unrelated companies within a couple months of each other. This was during the final iteration of Tycoon Trading.
The father, Chris Elder, was a largely unsuccessful man by business standards yet during the third iteration of Tycoon Trading he invented and papered a company with zero tangible assets and entered an SEC Form D filing to indicate that it had a value of $25mm. That company was Alaska Private Equity 2. Immediately thereafter his youngest son Garrett entered an SEC Form D filing to indicate that he too had established a newly papered zero tangible asset company named Daily Bread Fund which he claimed to be worth $30mm. The sole value for either of these shells would be to further swindle the assets of others… which is exactly what the DOJ knows happened but serendipitously forgot to mention in their “Information” recently filed.
To make their own job easier they’re giving away swindled investor’s money and dignity by offering Garrett Elder a slap on the hand if he’ll recover for them any remaining crumbs of what he stole.
He’s only being charged with wire fraud. That in itself is a fraud.
To the pool of impacted investors; know that you are being played. This is a travesty, a miscarriage of justice, and a thief of the first order being offered little more than a spanking for having taken thirty four million dollars of your money through the time honored processes of misrepresentation, blatantly lying and cheating at every turn. Odd to you that this all likely seems fresh when in fact another aspect the DOJ has glossed over is that you’ve been lied to all along and unbeknownst only to you, your money was gone the moment you placed it in Garrett’s care. All those pictures and updates and posts he shared w/ you from cool trips to exotic locations?
He was laughing inside.
You paid for the trip.
You paid for everything else, too.
You damn near paid for a Porsche 911 Turbo ten days before Tycoon Trading formally collapsed. Shame you didn’t have more money, eh?
Sam Bankman-Fried could have taught this clown a thing or two. 35 million is chump change.
IMHO, if you were bilked by this guy, you should probably hire a private investigator and have him take a close look at who this guy associated with and any other businesses he might be tied to. This will show where the money actually went and also reveal any other assets he might have. I did a little basic research and found this guy tied to several other businesses in Alaska and Wyoming as either owner or partner.
Good observations, Bob. I think I’d do the same.
The State’s corporate registry still shows that Tycoon Trading, LLC is in good standing and from the biennial reports filed it can be seen that as of 12/28/15, it was co-owned by Amy S. Elder (16.7%), Chris D. Elder (16.7%), Garrett Elder (33.33%), and Standard Investments, LLC (33.33%).
That same State registry shows that Standard Investments, LLC is also in good standing and it’s owned by Blake D. Elder (50%) and Natalie Elder (50%).
The next biennial report filed for Tycoon Trading on 2/5/18 shows only Garrett Elder’s name as the owner of 100% of it.
From the article we can see that “(i)n March 2018, Elder disclosed to the victims that their investments had failed” which was one month after the names of the co-owners ceased to appear on state filings for the operation.
Assuming those other Elders could be Garrett’s relatives, it looks like they’d somehow or another bailed out on their co-ownership stakes at some point between 12/28/15 and 2/5/18 and the scams were well underway by January of 2016 as per the FBI’s information.
There doesn’t appear to be a record of how that change in ownership took place on the State’s website and far be it from me to pretend I understand the requirements for documenting any such changes, of course.
Looking a little further into it, Robert Schmidt, Alaska’s Division of Banking and Securities division, announced in a KTUU report on 10/18/22 that Garrett Elder had been taking the new investors’ money and paying it out to the older investors. The total known losses at that time amounted to a mere $7.4 million taken in from 39 victims.
Y’know, I still have to wonder about the apparently missing $5 to $9 million and who those “certain investors” were who’d had money distributed back to them…
Great reporting, Suzanne!
Well that’s some rabbit hole you’ve pointed toward there, Bob, and one needn’t look too deep into it to formulate some more questions.
Is it even known whether Garrett Elder was trading anything at all in recent years or might he have just been taking in money from those who’d believed it was being invested and then handing much of it off to others, some of whom could even share his last name as we might guess given the ownership history of Tycoon Trading and the statements made by Mr. Schmidt?
And is it known if there any other parties being investigated?
Just wow. As an outsider looking in, it appears that there’s a pile of money missing if $30 to $34 million was taken in by this crook and only $25 million of that was said to be lost in risky stock trades.
I have to wonder how much of that missing money was distributed back to “certain investors”, how much of it was squandered on real estate investments, vehicles, a boat, a camper, bicycles, tools, and jewelry, and how much of it is unaccounted for.
I also have to wonder if the State will be trying him as well. He should be rotting in misery for the rest of his days behind bars.
The more you poke around to find out how something like this could have happened the darker the origins become. Here’s an excerpt from Garrett Elder’s father’s obit:
“He was active in church as a Treasurer, Deacon and Elder for many years. One of his life aspirations was to baptize each of his children. He was very thankful to be able to do this as each of his children chose a life of following Jesus.”
A link to that obit is here:
Whomever wrote that was referring to the same man as deacon that had been released from jail on ankle monitor recognizance. Jesus was known to associate with thieves, prostitutes, a variety of sinners and other societal detritus but he didn’t look up to them and he wasn’t seeking their guidance. He also is known to have never associated with hypocrites. Joke about priests all you like but in the end you don’t look for biblical counsel from a prostitute, a thief, or anyone sporting an ankle monitor.
You don’t need to dig very far to find sordid details. I found the above in his obit and instances of him being caught for drunk driving and drunk driving with a weapon from a quick look on courtview where I also found 22 other instances of him being the focal point of various proceedings. Here’s the source:
Chris seems like a man that had much to teach but probably not in a Christian setting… unless of course you’re teaching someone how to run an affinity scam which is exactly what his son is known for.
Looks like there might be a little hatred between the family’s real mom and the uh, fresh mom. Real mom isn’t even mentioned in the obit though she’s the official matriarch of the family. Might another layer of dad’s duplicity lurks behind what’s not mentioned in his obit.
Let’s go for a look, shall we? Matter of fact, let’s dig into this from top to bottom. The FBI supposedly has done so already but all appearances indicate that they may have done a suboptimal job if they need Garrett’s help to find the missing $5-9 million, eh?
Who’s in? Do you know something about this group that might add some color to the offended investor pool’s case? Please add it here. It’s the least we can do for Garrett.
A significant donation appears to have originated at Daily Bread Fund directed to a religious organization providing aftercare for young boys culled from the sex trafficking industry in the Dominican Republic.
Transfer appears to have been made during the 2nd half of 2021
Investment victims are so altruistic! Good for you! Bet you didn’t know you had donated that, did you?
Now claw it back.
More tawdry details to come. I wonder if our buddy at the DOJ was hoping that his or her poorly negotiated slap on the hand would just go away? Sure.
Note to all offended parties:
I’ve posted a ton of other detail and very little of it has made it through site moderation. I understand. If reddit or other might be a better repository for the more tawdry bits know that the material is not pretty, it’s not made up and it’s not best swept under the rug.
Here’s what needs to be done if you are an impacted member of the victim pool:
– It is important to find an attorney with significant experience in Federal process. This deck is already stacked against you.
– Figure out if the fine the DOJ intends to assess will be imposed before or after the victim pool is paid off. That money is not restitution and will not go to you. Based on the DOJ’s handling of the case so far I would highly suspect that they expect to be paid a fine before any of you are reimbursed.
Check your inbox, victims.
The DOJ has just posted more nonsense about the plea bargain.
…and yes, it’s a joke. Because he wasn’t violent and because this is the first time he’s been caught and because he doesn’t look to the prosecutor like the pirate that he is they’ll give away your money as if it’s nothing.
Back up a bit though. Ask yourself if this is his offense and the answer is no, it is not. It’s the first time he’s been caught.
Do you feel he should be treated lightly due to ineffectual policing of the system? Tycoon Trading has been a registered company w/ the State for more than a decade and during that period he’s cratered that company three times for a total expense to investors of more than $35mm dollars.
That money you worked so hard for. Do you believe he should walk away with a slap on the wrist?
Are you aware that the DOJ hopes to pass this off by you washing away $25mm, arguing over whatever scraps the pirate helps them recover and then calling it good? The max penalty is 8 years… not 20. He’d get out in maybe three for good behavior and for that time spent he’d have been paid (by you) about $8mm per year to smoke cigarettes and play cards.
When he gets out what will he do aside from set up another swindle? He’s qualified to drive a snow plow truck. That, and steal.
The proposed sentence is a theft of your dignity. Let your voice be heard. If you have not yet done it you must write down your victim impact statement such that it can either be read in court or handed to the judge. This may be what little voice you have in the process.
Don’t accept being run over by the system.