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Million-dollar bilker pleads guilty to mail fraud

A Portland man pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering last Thursday, stemming from allegations he bilked millions of dollars out of investors, including a Lake Oswego couple.

James R. Mast was indicted in November on charges of fraud and money laundering related to activities at his day trading business in Hillsboro.

The indictment charges that, beginning in 2001 and continuing into 2004, Mast defrauded numerous investors out of $4 million by soliciting investments for three businesses, allegedly for the purpose of day trading.

Mast was accused of making numerous misrepresentations of his businesses - known as Enhanced Financial Services, Inc.; GlobalTech Partners, Limited Partnership; and GlobalTech Trading Group, Inc.

An investigation into the purported scheme by the IRS and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service netted a quarterly statement from GlobalTech Partners to a Lake Oswego couple, who invested in the day-trading program. The Lake Oswego Review is withholding the name of the victims.

According to the indictment, Mast told investors their funds were to be used in a day trading program, that the program had been profitable every month for several years, that he had attained double-digit growth and annualized returns in excess of 100 percent and that risk of loss was minimized through 'money management' techniques.

Mast apparently sent only a small portion of investor funds to trading accounts, the vast majority of which was lost. According to a press release from the Department of Justice, records showed Mast diverted investor funds for his personal use and spent the money on high-stakes gambling in Las Vegas, new cars, a boat, furniture and gifts.

The scheme to defraud investors started to collapse in July 2004, when Mast announced in a letter dated July 18, 2004, '...we have experienced our first losing quarter...'

However, the grand jury that charged Mast found that from commencement of trading in May 2001 through February 2005, he either engaged in no trading or sustained quarterly losses in GlobalTech Trading's combined trading accounts.

Mast entered a guilty plea in U.S. District Court last Thursday and faces up to 20 years in prison on the mail fraud charge and 10 years in prison for money laundering. He will be sentenced June 18.