Former CEO of Oregon Retirement Chain Accused of Perpetrating $130M Investment Fraud
Jon Michael Harder, former CEO of the Salem-based Sunwest Management retirement
centers, has been accused of defrauding more than 1,000 investors in an
alleged $130 million investment fraud scheme. Prosecutors say the alleged
investment scheme ran from 2006 to 2008 and drove the company to near collapse.
As CEO of Sunwest Management, Harder controlled approximately 300 assisted-living
facilities. Each facility served more than 15,000 elderly residents. According
to the 56-count indictment, Harder told potential investors that Sunwest
was a successful, profitable business, even though the company was losing
millions of dollars per year as early as 2006. To cover up the company’s
losses, he allegedly raised money from investors and went on a “buying
spree,” during which he acquired new facilities at the average rate
of one per week.
The indictment further alleges that Harder violated his promises and representations
to investors by comingling their funds and using their money to pay guaranteed
returns to earlier investors. He also is accused of
diverting and laundering money to finance his “lavish lifestyle.”
After a warrant was issued for his arrest, Harder voluntarily turned himself
in to Portland authorities last week. He has been charged with 25 counts
of mail fraud, 11 counts of wire fraud, and 20 counts of money laundering.
If convicted, he could face decades in prison. For more about the case, click