Victims may have the chance to recoup money from a Platte County resident who committed suicide as authorities closed in on holding him responsible for a multi-million fraud scheme.
A civil forfeiture complaint has been filed in federal court for the property that Mark Sellers acquired and maintained over a period of nearly decade. The FBI had been investigating him in connection to a $10 million investment fraud scheme before he shot and killed himself near his home Aug. 2, 2016 in an upscale neighborhood just outside of Parkville, Mo.
The complaint alleges that the property is subject to federal forfeiture because it was derived from the proceeds of an investment fraud scheme.
Sellers allegedly swindled about 100 investors out of approximately $10 million through his firm Selden Companies, LLC from Dec. 2007 through at least 2015. The complaint also alleges that he committed mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud.
The Department of Justice provides a process by which victims who suffer losses from a fraud scheme may seek relief once any assets have been forfeited.
The government is seeking forfeiture of Sellers’ former residence on North Cosby Court in Kansas City, Mo. and also a 2014 Porsche 911 and 77 pieces of jewelry that law enforcement officers seized in addition to the proceeds of five life insurance policies that have been cashed with death benefits totaling $6 million.
According to the complaint, the FBI began investigating Sellers on June 6, 2016 after receiving a complaint from an investor.
Sellers allegedly fraudulently misrepresented to investors in the Kansas City area as well as Georgia, Alabama and elsewhere that he would use the funds to purchase companies and turn them around to sell at a profit. According to the complaint, he hid the fact that he and his wife spent almost all of the invested funds to maintain their own lavish lifestyle.
Sellers’ primary source of income from 2008 through 2016 was investor funds he used for his own personal benefit.
Bank records show approximately $9.9 million of investor funds were utilized for Sellers’ personal use including vehicles, life insurance policies, homes, jewelry and credit card purchases. He allegedly laundered the invested funds through multiple bank accounts.
The complaint further alleges Sellers had depleted the investors’ funds and then defrauded several financial institutions by running a large credit card “bust out” scheme in a final effort to maintain his family’s lifestyle. A bust out scheme is a type of credit card fraud in which an individual establishes a normal usage pattern and solid repayment history, then racks up numerous charges and maxes out the card with no intention of paying the bill.
The consumer establishes the card issuer’s trust and a strong credit profile with the goal of opening numerous accounts and receiving credit line increases so that more funds are available.
Sellers opened about eight credit cards with JP Morgan Chase over several years, ran up large credit card balances, increased the credit limit available on the credit cards, and then paid the bill with ACH transfers backed by insufficient funds. This type of activity occurred on one credit card 92 times in a five-month span.
According to court documents, Sellers had outstanding balances of more than $500,000 on credit cards at the time of his death.
On July 18, 2016, Kansas City (Mo.) Police Department officers were called to the Sellers’ residence for a possible homicide/suicide. Upon arrival, officers found Sellers incoherent in his bedroom lying next to his wife, Sandra Sellers, who was deceased.
Sandra Sellers had been shot in the head, and her husband had attempted to overdose on medication. Mark Sellers was taken to an area hospital for medical attention and evaluation, and he eventually made a full recovery.
Less than a month later, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Sellers’ residence on North Cosby Court, just off of NW 64th Street, but he was not home at the time.
At approximately 8:33a.m., Sellers arrived in his Ford Explorer, and according to a release from the U.S. Western District of Missouri Court, Sellers realized he was not able to turn onto N. Cosby Court because law enforcement had blocked the intersection.
Sellers allegedly accelerated past the intersection, and at that time, law enforcement officers stopped the vehicle, which was occupied solely by Sellers. He stopped his vehicle and shot himself in the head with a .22-caliber revolver.