Man loses millions in scam involving doomsday resort

Published: Jul. 8, 2018 at 7:26 AM EDT
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A doomsday resort planned for a Texas County is at the center of an FBI investigation.

The owner, John Eckerd, is accused of trying to launder money for a drug cartel. Trident Lakes in Ector is supposed to be a $320 million resort and luxury residential community including underground condos, a golf course, an equestrian center, even a DNA vault.

David West lives across the street, so does Tommi Pinkston.

"It looks like a big fountain in the middle of a pasture," West said.

And as far as construction crews?

"None. None at all," Pinkston said.

In March, Eckerd was arrested by the FBI.

Federal prosecutors say Eckerd and an unidentified co-conspirator met with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a former narcotics trafficker last October in New Jersey.

Eckerd knowingly laundered $200,000 dollars thinking it was from Colombian drug trafficking.

Federal investigators said he agreed to launder two million dollars a month through a "development project," according to the document.

Eckerd's attorney Bob Webster is currently negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors and gave us this statement:

"I don't know what the next steps are. It's been pending since March. It will depend whether the government goes through with it or not," Webster said.

But that’s not the only financial trouble Eckerd has.

A Dallas man says he invested almost $13 million dollars, in what he thought was a tire company.

Instead he says the money went other places... including one million of his money wired to Trident Lakes Property Holdings.

Geoff Henley is his attorney.

"We want our client to be made whole. We want him to recover all the money invested and everything he has coming to him," Henley said.

The man filed a lawsuit about three weeks ago...against Eckerd and a number of other associates. Henley says Trident Lakes was just one of the places Eckerd used to scam his client.

"A lot of fraudelent activity. Millions of dollars being diverted in places that they should not have been," Henley said.

Eckerd's out on a $100,000 bond and had to give up his passport and firearms. Right now, Eckerd is negotiating a plea deal with federal prosecutors. The investor's case is pending trial.