James Charles O’Gara was a disbarred lawyer living in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a convicted felon, and worked with John Sherman of Minneapolis to perpetrate a fraud on multiple individuals for hundreds of thousands of dollars. O’Gara was a first-class con artist. He had convinced bankers and other reputable financiers and wealthy business people that he was legitimate. He got people to vouch for him as credible.
He represented to business owners in need of capital that he had access to millions of dollars in funding for projects. He worked with John Sherman, a former registered securities broker who lived in Plymouth, Minnesota and claimed he knew nothing about O’Gara’s background, when interviewed by Marc Tobias.
As a result of a background investigation by Tobias regarding the defrauding of several of his clients and colleagues, and undercover wires by Tobias with O’Gara and others, the FBI arrested O’Gara. He subsequently plead guilty and served more than two years at Leavenworth Federal prison in Kansas.
This is a classic case that anyone seeking funding from individuals claiming they have access to financing should understand that background investigations and due diligence are mandatory, especially in the Internet era where documents can be easily forged.
Read the seven-part article in the Omaha World Herald by Karyn Spencer, a highly talented investigative reporter who went on to work for the Public Defenders Office in Omaha as an investigator.