SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 17090 / August 6, 2001
United States v. Robert N. Taylor, United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Criminal No. 99-0312 (EGS)
On June 11, 2001, Robert N. Taylor entered a guilty plea to one count of mail fraud and one count of failure to appear for trial pursuant to an indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In the mail fraud count, Taylor admitted that he carried out a fraudulent $50 million Ponzi scheme known as the "Better Life Club of America," in which he promised to double investors' money in 60 or 90 days. The second count arose out of Taylor's failure to appear on or about May 15, 2000, for a retrial for mail fraud and money laundering charges arising out of the Better Life Club scheme. His first trial resulted in a hung jury.
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan accepted the plea and scheduled sentencing for August 10, 2001. Taylor faces a sentence of up to 36 months imprisonment on the mail fraud count and 12 months on the failure to appear count, followed by a term of three years of supervised probation. Taylor is currently serving a 10-year sentence Prince George's County, Maryland, for third degree burglary. His mail fraud sentence will run concurrently with his Maryland sentence. The failure to appear sentence, however, will run consecutively to his other sentences. Taylor also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $25,805,577.
Taylor's Better Life Club scheme was also the subject of a civil enforcement action brought by the Commission in September 1995 alleging securities fraud and the unlawful unregistered offer and sale of securities. Securities and Exchange Commission v. The Better Life Club of America, Inc., Robert N. Taylor, et al., Civil Action No. 95-1679 (TFH). The Court granted summary judgment to the Commission on all of its claims in that action on February 27, 1998. A court-appointed receiver, Michael J. Missal, has distributed the remaining assets of the Better Life Club to the victims of Taylor's scheme.
In addition, Taylor pled guilty in July 1996 to wire fraud and criminal contempt based on hundreds of violations of an asset freeze order entered by Judge Hogan to preserve the investors' funds pending the outcome of the Commission's case. See SEC Lit. Rel. No. 14988 (July 23, 1996). Taylor previously served a 41-month sentence for those crimes. See SEC Lit. Rel. No. 15277 (Mar. 7, 1997).