Romney-McCain-Whitman Donor James Catledge Indicted In Alleged $90M Ponzi Scheme: He’s Rich, He’s A Republican, He’s An Eagle Scout… And He’s A Mormon

James Catledge

Rancho Santa Fe Man and Alleged Co-Conspirator Charged with a Scheme to Defraud Victims Out of More Than $90 Million

SAN FRANCISCO, September 21, 2012 — A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted James B. Catledge of Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Derek F.C. Elliott, of Orangeville, Ontario, Canada, on September 18, 2012, with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and three counts of mail fraud, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

In 2008, while authorities contend the scam was in operation, Catledge contributed more than $100,000 to the Republican National Committee, John McCain’s presidential campaign and other Republican causes.

Catledge and his wife, Tiffany, also contributed to Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign before he dropped out of the race.

On May 28, 2008, Catledge and his wife attended what the Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported was a $70,000-a-couple dinner with President George W. Bush at Mitt and Ann Romney’s vacation home in Deer Valley, Utah.

In April 2010, the Catledges attended a California fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. California records show Catledge gave $30,000 to Whitman’s unsuccessful bid. …

Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

— Dan Christensen
Big GOP donor among 2 indicted
in alleged Dominican resort scam via NBC News
September 27, 2012

The charges allege a scheme in which Catledge and Elliott fraudulently solicited more than $90 million from investors to build a resort in the Dominican Republic, but the resort never opened.

According to the indictment, Catledge, 45, and Elliott, 42, used a bank loan to purchase an old hotel in the Dominican Republic, which they called the Juan Dolio Resort. They then began to renovate the hotel and to solicit investments in the resort.

The indictment further alleges that in their sales pitch, Catledge and Elliot failed to tell investors that the full commissions being taken from their investment were approximately 44 percent, that the renovations were underfunded, that investors’ money was being used on other projects, and the returns they promised were unsupportable and could not be achieved.

Catledge and Elliott collected approximately $91.3 million from investors. Of that amount, they allegedly spent approximately $13.4 million on renovations of the Juan Dolio resort and diverted approximately $68.6 million to commissions and other payments. The renovations were never completed.

Catledge is scheduled to be arraigned on October 5, 2012, before Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero in San Francisco. A court date has not yet been set for Elliott.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud in violation of Title 18, United States Code Sections 1349 and 1341, respectively, is 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of $250,000 or twice the total loss, and restitution.

However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Mitt Romney, Tiffany Catledge, James Catledge and Meg Whitman
Mitt Romney, Tiffany Catledge, James Catledge and Meg Whitman ( We also lurrrve this photo of Catledge in a cute man-crush handshake with a typically dippy George W. Bush.

Jonathan Schmidt is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elizabeth Garcia and Christine Tian. The prosecution is the result of a two-year investigation by the FBI.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF), which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.

With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit

We find it amazing James graduated from any school if this is his best attempt at English grammar, spelling and punctuation:

James Catledge was born in Charlotte North Carolina and grew up in Memphis Tennessee. Raised by a single mother, James would work odd jobs to afford good clothes and any extras. james paid his way through college and his LDS 2 year mission. James mother Janie made certain he achieved the highest honor in scouting; James Catledge is an eagle scout! Janie said no eagle means no drivers license, that’s all he needed to know. …

After graduation from High School, James moved west to attend college. At age 19 he was called to serve a mission for his church. As a missionary he found his purpose in serving others. Working in northern California he was able to serve hundreds. Later he enrolled at Brigham Young University where he studied Business and Communications. …

— “About James

The United States Attorneys are launching an Investor Fraud Initiative and hosting regional Investor Fraud Summits during the first two weeks of October in Walnut Creek, California; Denver, Colo.; Nashville, Tennessee; Miami, Florida; Cleveland, Ohio; and Stamford, Connecticut. The Walnut Creek summit will take place on October 9, 2012.

The primary goal of the Investor Fraud Initiative is to raise public awareness about investor fraud by identifying the types of schemes and schemers prosecuted by the Justice Department, educating investors on ways to protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud, and encouraging individuals to report suspicious activity.

Conference participants include all four U.S. Attorneys in California; U.S. Attorneys from Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska, and Texas; and senior officials from the Department of Justice, SEC, FBI, and other financial fraud enforcement and regulatory agencies.

Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Catledge and Elliott must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California

More reading:

Newsmeat (James Catledge: Mitt Romney, $2,300 [2007]; John McCain, $50,000 [2008]; Republican Party of Wisconsin, $4,225 [2008]; Tiffany Catledge: Mitt Romney, $2,300 [2007])

• “FBI probes huge ‘Ponzi-style’ scheme; thousands in U.S., Canada ‘financially destroyed’,” Broward Bulldog, January 29, 2010

• “Investment Advice Guru Who Gave Big To GOP Accused Of Ponzi Scheme (VIDEO),” Justin Elliott, TPMMuckraker, February 2, 2010

James Catledge Twitter feed
James Catledge’s Twitter feed
. Calls Obama a “coward,” suggests the President is to blame for the death of Chris Stevens, seems to want to declare war on Libya, and often parrots Paul Ryan‘s meaningless one-liners.

• “James and Tiffany Catledge Endorse Meg Whitman for California Governor,”, April 15, 2010

• “Securities and Exchange Commission v. James B. Catledge, Derek F. C. Elliott, EMI Resorts (S.V.G.) Inc., EMI Sun Village, Inc., and Sun Village Juan Dolio, Inc., Defendants, and D.R.C.I. Trust, Relief Defendant,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, May 24, 2012

• “SEC Charges Two Indivuduals in Fraudulent Offering of Investments in Dominican Republic Resorts,” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, May 31, 2012

• “Big GOP donor among 2 indicted in alleged Dominican resort scam,” Dan Christensen, via NBC News, September27, 2012

Catledge Companies


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