Baker businessman James R. Holdman filed bankruptcy cases in 2001 and 2011 before a federal grand jury in Baton Rouge indicted him Feb. 28 on 18 counts of mail fraud.
Holdman, 57, cost investors in his hedge fund operations $13 million by sending them false statements that reflected nonexistent profits, U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said after the grand jury returned the indictment.
“Prosecuting those who commit investment fraud in (this) district will continue to be a priority,” Cazayoux added.
In a telephone interview Thursday, Holdman declined to discuss that indictment. He also declined to name any attorney who could speak on his behalf. No attorney for Holdman is listed in the federal court file containing his indictment.
“I’m really not going to comment,” Holdman repeated.
Holdman won discharge from debts listed in his 2001 bankruptcy case, but those records are archived in Fort Worth, Texas. And documents containing the amount of his assets and debts in that case cannot be opened in the electronic file available in Baton Rouge.
When Holdman filed for bankruptcy in June 2011, he listed total assets of $233,455 and total debts of nearly $12.1 million. He was discharged from his debts in January 2012.
Court records show Holdman’s discharge cost Greenwell Springs resident Patty Carter more than $900,000 that her husband, Emmett Carter Jr., had invested with Holdman.
“We lost 98 percent of our retirement savings,” Patty Carter said in an interview. “We didn’t get anything back. I don’t think anybody did. It was almost all of my husband’s retirement.”
Patty Carter’s husband died in May 2011 at 61 years of age after retiring as operations supervisor for ExxonMobil Refinery, where he worked for 35 years.
In the months prior to his death, Emmett Carter “was in a state of depression you wouldn’t believe over all of this stuff,” Patty Carter said. “It was an awful thing for us.”
Baton Rouge resident Nancy Watts would not discuss her loss to Holdman’s investment program.
“I’m hoping that he’s not guilty of anything,” Watts said in an interview. “I thought he lost everything he had in it, as well.”
Watts added: “Right now, I think James is probably a good person who didn’t do anything wrong. Aren’t we all presumed innocent until proven guilty in this country? Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be.”
The investigation that led to Holdman’s indictment was conducted by the FBI, Louisiana Office of Financial Institutions, Texas State Securities Board and the Securities and Charities Division of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Office, Cazayoux said last month.
The indictment obtained by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shubhra Shivpuri mentions only six allegedly defrauded investors in the 18 counts of mail fraud pending against Holdman. Identified only by their initials, four of those investors reside in Mississippi. One lives in Florida, and the sixth is in Baton Rouge.
“There were a lot more investors than that,” said Patty Carter.
The indictment alleges that Holdman fraudulently inflated financial statements to his investors to discourage them from freezing or withdrawing their investments.
“Holdman’s scheme was to enrich himself by obtaining and retaining money through fraud from the victim investors,” the indictment alleges.
“From February 2008 through October 2008, Holdman lost or converted to his own use and benefit nearly all of the victim investors’ money,” the indictment accuses.
In 2008, Holdman operated Greenwing Capital Management LLC, Greenwing Fund LLC, Bluewing Fund LLC and Silverwing Fund LLC in both Baton Rouge and Zachary, according to the indictment.
“Holdman also offered cash savings accounts that were ‘no risk,’ similar to a money market account,” the indictment states. The indictment adds that all funds were closed by the end of October 2008.
Two years ago, Holdman registered a new firm with the Louisiana Secretary of State. That firm is Louisiana Business Advisors LLC at the same Baker address he listed for himself in his 2011 bankruptcy filing.
On its website — http://www.labusinessadvisors.com/ — the company describes itself as “a full service business brokerage firm serving buyers and sellers of businesses throughout Louisiana.”