WASHINGTON, USA – An indictment was unsealed Monday charging a married couple for their roles in a decade-long scheme to defraud investors of millions of dollars in connection with Semisub Inc. (Semisub), a Hawaii-based company.
According to court documents, Curtiss E. Jackson, 69, of Honolulu, Hawaii, and Jamey Denise Jackson, 59, currently of Lake Worth, Florida, and formerly of Honolulu, allegedly engaged in a scheme to fraudulently obtain money by deceiving purchasers of Semisub securities about the company’s business and operations, including its revenue and expenses. Specifically, the indictment alleges that Curtiss Jackson and Jamey Jackson, who were respectively Semisub’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and president, would use funds raised from the sale of securities to develop and build a fleet of semi-submersible vessels for tourism and other commercial purposes and raised over $28 million from more than 400 investors.
For over ten years, the defendants allegedly falsely told investors that a purported prototype vessel, dubbed “Semisub One,” was “weeks” or “months” away from beginning operations. They also allegedly falsely claimed that Semisub had entered into agreements or developed relationships with marquee government agencies and a well-known private equity firm to build and sell a fleet of additional vessels for $32 million each.
The defendants allegedly misused a substantial amount of the money raised from the sale of Semisub securities to pay for luxury residences in California and Hawaii, a Mercedes-Benz automobile, luxury vacations, psychics, marijuana, personal credit card bills, and cash withdrawals for their personal use, among other things. Curtiss Jackson and Semisub were also allegedly barred from offering or selling securities by the Pennsylvania Securities Commission in 2008 and by the California Department of Corporations in 2009 in those states. The defendants nonetheless allegedly continued to sell securities to investors across the United States, including to those in Pennsylvania and California, in violation of both states’ orders.
Curtiss Jackson and Jamey Jackson are charged with securities fraud, conspiracy, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Curtiss Jackson made his initial court appearance yesterday in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii. Jamey Denise Jackson also made her initial court appearance yesterday in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut. Each charged count carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Inspector in Charge Eric Shen of the US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Criminal Investigations Group; and Special Agent in Charge Bret R. Kressin of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Seattle Field Office made the announcement.
The USPIS and IRS-CI are investigating the case. Trial attorneys Christopher Fenton, Matthew Reilly, and Blake Goebel of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section are prosecuting the case.