Acadiana Business

Curious Goods, Bowman Investment owner Buswell pleads guilty

by Leslie Turk

Owner of Bowman Investment Group and Curious Goods pleads guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue and wire fraud involving an investment scheme that defrauded local clients of millions.

U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley will hold a press conference Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the federal courthouse building to announce the guilty pleas of Richard Joseph Buswell, a former owner of both Lafayette investment firm Bowman Investment Group and Curious Goods.

Richard Buswell

Finley says in a press release that Buswell pleaded guilty in two separate cases related to his involvement in the two business ventures.

He pleaded guilty on July 19, 2013, to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance analogue, and Wednesday morning to wire fraud involving an investment scheme defrauding clients out of millions of dollars.

In September Buswell was one of nine people named in a 16-count indictment alleging conspiracy to distribute synthetic drugs, conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and various money laundering charges. The drugs are often marketed as bath salts, Spice, incense, potpourri or plant food.

High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford of Lafayette and attorney Barry Domingue of Carencro, who practices personal injury and construction law, were among those indicted by a federal grand jury in the alleged multi-state illegal synthetic drug operation. In the indictment Finley claimed Stanford received $156,921 and Domingue $91,319 for their role in a money laundering and drug trafficking ring involving $5 million in sales of synthetic marijuana.

Also named in the indictment were Alexander Derrick Reece, 40, of Gainesville, Fla.; Drew T. Green, 38, of Roswell, Ga.; Thomas William Malone, Jr., 45, of Roswell, Ga.; Boyd Anthony Barrow, 43 of Canton, Ga.; Joshua Espinoza, 49, of Marietta, Ga.; Richard Joseph Buswell, 44, of Lafayette; and Daniel Paul Francis, 42, of Dawsonville, Ga.

Buswell joins a list of others who have pleaded guilty in the synthetic drug case.

At the time of the September drug indictment, Buswell was already facing federal criminal charges related to his role in an investor fraud scheme involving Bowman Investment Group. Buswell had intially pleaded not guilty.

Stanford told The IND his involvement in this case began with his representation of Buswell in the securities fraud matter.

It's unclear how Buswell's guilty pleas affect Stanford and Domingue, both of whom have maintained their innocence.

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