Richard Leal Ferguson: Indicted

May 11

Richard Leal Ferguson of Harlingen, a two-time convicted felon, was indicted May 11 in Cameron County on charges of securities fraud and theft for allegedly stealing more than $100,000 from investors for a small-business loan program.

Ferguson sold investments in "fast track loan programs,"according to the indictment, as well as in the purchase of distressed assets.

The indictment alleges that Ferguson failed to tell investors that prior investment programs he sold caused those investors significant losses. Ferguson also intentionally misrepresented to investors in the current alleged fraud that investor funds were insured and protected against loss.

Ferguson failed to disclose to investors that he had been twice convicted of felony offenses.

In 2007, Ferguson pleaded guilty in Cameron County State District Court to theft by deception and misapplication of fiduciary property and was sentenced to 12 years in state prison.

Doing business as Access Group of South Texas and Group Innovation, Ferguson sold securities to raise funds for feasibility studies with environmental impact assessments. He also participated in an advance fee scheme that purported to provide, as a service for an advance fee, the research, preparation, and submission of a loan/grant application to federal or state government agencies on the victim's behalf.

Ferguson was also convicted of theft in Hildago County in 1999 and placed on probation.