Christopher Bass, an Albany investment broker and president and CEO of Swiss Capital Harbor/USA, was arrested Feb. 8 on federal criminal charges of securities fraud for an alleged scheme involving more than 200 investors and $5.5 million.
According to the criminal complaint, Bass allegedly deceived investors with promises of high returns via investments in his company, which also operated under the name Revisco Finanz. Investigators say the alleged scheme dates back to January 2007.
Investors’ funds were supposedly invested in several overseas projects, including power plants that authorities now believe may not exist. Court documents say that less than half of investors’ money was used for the purposes conveyed by Bass. Instead, the majority of money went to bankroll Bass’ personal expenses or to repay other investors.
As reported Feb. 9 by Times Union.com, bank records show that Bass allegedly used $169,858 of investors’ deposits to finance the purchase of his upscale home in Menands, and that at least $700,000 of investors’ money was disbursed to Bass. Another $550,000 of investors’ deposits was used for payroll expenses at Swiss Capital Harbor, including $200,000 in gross pay to Bass and at least $50,000 to his family members.
The complaint also says that more than $1.25 million of investors’ deposits was used to repay investors who ultimately demanded to get their money back or income from their investments, which is indicative of a Ponzi scheme.
According to the Times Union.com article, several people who were solicited to invest money with Bass and Swiss Capital Harbor had previously warned state and local authorities more than two years ago that his company was “suspicious” and appeared to be inflating the rate of its returns to investors.
Bass’ offices, as well as his Park Hill Lane home, were raided last August by U.S. Custom agents.
Some investors now say they have lost their entire life savings because of Bass’ alleged scheme.