Fraud in the News: Fraudster Gets 40 Years

The FBI published an article on August 6 detailing the sentencing of a criminal whose crimes spanned more than 30 years and affected more than 500 victims. You might assume this man is some infamous terrorist, but he’s actually a prolific fraudster from Texas.

Harris Dempsey “Butch” Ballow was originally set to serve time in a federal penitentiary 14 years ago, but he decided he’d flee to a Mexican resort town instead. His beach life ended in July 2010 when Mexican authorities captured him and later extradited him back to the United States. He then faced a new set of charges and a longer prison sentence.

While in Mexico, Ballow obtained majority stake in a seemingly legitimate company and transformed it into a holding company for several of his fictitious businesses. He then sought investment of approximately $37 million for the development of resorts. With no plans to build anything, Ballow had the investment money wired overseas into his personal accounts. As a man apparently devoid of any moral compass, or fear of prosecution, he targeted American and Canadian men and women who often took loans or dipped into retirement funds for Ballow’s “investment opportunity.”

Thanks to the combined efforts of the FBI, IRS, Canadian and Mexican authorities, U.S. Marshals and even the United States Postal Inspection Service, the 75-year-old Ballow likely will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

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Doug is a member of BKD’s Forensics & Valuation Services division and leads its Dallas practice. He provides forensic accounting, investigation and litigation support services as well as forensic data analytics.

He joined BKD with more than ten years of experience working for international accounting and advisory firms in their fraud investigation, dispute services and litigation consulting practices. His breadth of experience includes performing investigations and forensic analysis for clients across varying industries and around the world.

Douglas Manhart – who has written posts on BKD Forensics.


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