FBI — Promoter of Christian Rock Concerts Sentenced to Nearly Five Years in Federal Prison in Ponzi Scheme That Took $1 Million
SANTA ANA, CA—The owner and operator of a Downey company has been sentenced to 57 months in custody in a wire fraud scheme that collected nearly $1 million from victims who were falsely promised that their money would be used to host Christian rock concerts.
Lauren Baumann, 43, of Downey, the owner of Stewardship Estates, LLC, was sentenced late yesterday by United States District Judge Josephine S. Tucker.
Baumann pleaded guilty in October, admitting in court that she solicited loans from investors with claims that the money would be used to finance “battle of the bands” events featuring Christian rock bands and other music groups that would generate profits from ticket sales and company sponsorships. In some cases, Baumann told investors that the funds would also be used to purchase, refurbish, and resell homes.
In fact, a substantial portion of the investors’ funds was used to pay earlier investors, who thought they were receiving profits from Baumann’s venture. Baumann also used investor funds to pay approximately $10,000 a month to rent a historic mansion in Downey and to pay private school tuition for her children, among other personal expenses.
As a result of Baumann’s scheme, more than two dozen victims in Orange and Los Angeles counties suffered losses totaling nearly $560,000.
When she pleaded guilty, Baumann also admitted that she failed to disclose to investors that she had been convicted of securities fraud in 1999 in a Texas federal court and that she had been found liable in a related civil fraud action brought by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
Baumann was ordered to report to begin serving her sentence by April 2. The court will also issue an order requiring that Baumann pay restitution to her victims in the scheme.
The criminal case against Baumann is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.