PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A man who once lived in the Destin area has been indicted for a scheme that involved taking money from investors to flip houses and then pocketing the money for his own use.
John E. Acker, 52, formerly of Santa Rosa Beach, has been charged with 37 counts of wire fraud and seven counts of money laundering. The indictment was announced Thursday, Oct. 21, by Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. The indictment came after Acker’s arrest on Oct. 19 in Lee County, Fla.
The indictment alleges that between 2013 and 2020, Acker solicited and induced numerous individuals and corporations to invest money with him by making various fraudulent misrepresentations, including an investment for a real estate or other business-related “deal” with high-guaranteed returns. The indictment says he told investors the “deal” was for a purchase and sale, or “flip,” of a property or business.
Acker is charged with using those funds meant for investments to pay for his personal expenses or pay back prior investors whose funds had previously been misused. The indictment says Acker made other false statements to gain investors’ trust and influence them to invest, such as mischaracterizing or falsifying his relationship with attorneys, business owners or other prominent members of the community. The indictment also says that Acker claimed he had independent wealth from a trust fund. He purportedly used his corporate entities, including Miracle Strip Holdings X LLC, Fujimo Development LLC and Shipwreck Road LLC, to commit the alleged fraud.
Acker is also charged with laundering the proceeds of his investment fraud scheme by making large payments and monetary transfers in excess of $10,000.
Aker’s trial date will be set upon his appearance in the United States District Court in Pensacola.
This case resulted from a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Alicia Forbes and Ryan Love are prosecuting this case.