Operator of Kauai Investment Fraud Program Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

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HONOLULU, HAWAII – DAVID E. RUSKJER, age 60, today received a sentence of 120
months in prison on mail fraud (12 counts), wire fraud (four counts), currency structuring (two
counts), and money laundering (22 counts) relating to charges that he defrauded approximately
140 clients who had invested more than $16 million.

Senior United States District Judge Helen Gillmor also ordered RUSKJER to pay $11,586,334.85 in restitution to the victims of the fraud and remanded him into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing. A jury convicted Ruskjer on September 26, 2011, after a 14-day trial.


Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that
according to evidence presented during the trial:

• RUSKJER operated an investment program in Hawaii and elsewhere, known as “Ruskjer & Associates,” and/or “Dave’s Investment/Loan Program,” located in Koloa, Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, from approximately September 22, 2004 until December 11, 2008.

• RUSKJER held himself out to clients as a successful investor in options trading, and stated in promissory notes he gave in return for the monies his clients advanced that his options program could pay them four to five percent per month interest as a return on their money. The earliest investors were promised ten percent per month and one investor who paid RUSKJER $7.5 million was promised 50 percent per year.

• RUSKJER ostensibly collected monies to be used in trading covered and uncovered options with TD Ameritrade, but in fact, RUSKJER was paying earlier clients with monies he obtained from later clients since there was never sufficient money to support the interest rates he guaranteed his clients.

• RUSKJER only invested about $8 million he collected in the TD Ameritrade account, and by the time the government seized the TD Ameritrade account and other bank accounts, with a combined balance of approximately $4.1 million, on December 11, 2008, RUSKJER owed his clients approximately $19 million in principal and additional interest.

• RUSKJER actually lost over $2.5 million in options trading and spent significant sums of client money enriching himself and developing an unrelated business that never got off the ground.

• RUSKJER used client money to buy himself a $528,400 condominium on Kauai, a $29,000 Honda sedan, and Honda and Suzuki motorcycles for approximately $10,000.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Leslie E. Osborne, Jr.

Submitted by the US Attorney’s office