You can often spot a untrustworthy character by their unsubstantiated claims that whatever they’re trying to sell you on “could be a gold mine!” This guy just took it one step further.
On Wednesday, Dec. 12, a federal jury in Portland returned guilty verdicts against Harry Dean Proudfoot III, 78, formerly of Tigard, for running a fraudulent gold mining investment scheme that he used to steal $3.2 million from 140 investors. Proudfoot was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering.
In 2008, Harry Proudfoot created 3 Eagles Research and Development, a company based in Tigard that he used from 2008 through 2012 to solicit investors for a purported gold mining operation in Ohio. Harry Proudfoot, along with his adult children, including co-defendant Matthew Proudfoot, falsely promised to use investors’ money to purchase mining equipment and conduct mining operations at two gravel pits in Ohio.
Instead, they used investors’ money for living expenses, cars, travel, credit card bills, medical payments, lulling payments and other expenses to keep the scheme afloat.
To entice investors, Proudfoot and his children offered high rates of return, typically 10 percent of gross revenues, payable once the mine became operational. They falsely told investors they had all the necessary legal and business requirements in place for the mining operation.
In 2011, the States of Washington and Colorado and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began investigating the group for securities violations. Ultimately, the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon entered a judgment against Harry Proudfoot, Matthew Proudfoot and the 3 Eagles Research and Development Company in the SEC enforcement action.
Harry Proudfoot faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release on each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years’ supervised release on each count of money laundering. He will be sentenced on April 3, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.
Co-defendant Matthew Proudfoot pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering on November 1, 2017. He will be sentenced on January 9, 2019.