Jerry DeMario Guess had a taste for the flashy.
A 20-something who claimed he ran a powerful private equity business, he bought three Mercedes Benzes, traveled with a full-time security detail and dropped $93,000 on a diamond engagement band.
He once announced that he would buy Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for $500 million.
But his business, prosecutors alleged Thursday, was a fraud.
According to charges filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte, Guess, 25, defrauded investors of about $1.76 million over about three years. He would offer loans to businesses, collect fees in advance, and then never deliver, prosecutors say.
Guess operated different companies out of Charlotte, including the Ligna Acquisition Group and the Guess Funding Group. Working with at least a couple of other people, who weren't named Thursday, he billed his businesses as firms that routinely made multi-million-dollar loans and bragged that he had personally closed transactions worth more than $1 billion, prosecutors say.
Guess couldn't be reached for comment because he is in custody in Toronto on unrelated Canadian criminal charges, according to prosecutors. Court records do not indicate that he has hired a lawyer.
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