Jeff Cassman is known for being one of the loudest internet spokesmen for the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), routinely dismissing reports about sexual predators, writing off victims as liars and defending alleged predators. A quick Google search turns up nearly a dozen websites hosted by Cassman, including cassman.biz, jeffcassman.net, jeffcassman.com, jeffcassman.org, cassman.us, jeffcassman.info, as well as active social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, where he can be seen puffing on a cigar or drinking alcohol during his podcasts.
He holds himself out as a faithful, traditional Catholic husband and father, fluent in five languages (English, French, Italian, Latin and Spanish), and can be seen moralizing on doctrine and other matters of the Faith on various Catholic podcasts.
Cassman never reveals he is a convicted felon who spent time in prison for embezzling half a million dollars from his own family after fleeing the United States with his wife and numerous children to live as fugitives in Guatemala before being caught and extradited by the federal government to stand trial for fraud. He also fails to reveal he continues to solicit donations through a dissolved nonprofit no longer legally recognized in his state.
An obscure website hosted by journalist Kara Andrade reveals details about Cassman's life in Guatemala, where he lied to acquaintances about his circumstances:
When I asked him about what he was doing for work in Central America, he said he was looking at options but that he didn't need to rush things because he'd invested enough and got out early enough to be able to take care of his family comfortably for a few years. I remember doing the math in my head and thinking, "Even in Guatemala, that's at least $100,000 a year for what would end up being 12 family members near La Antigua living a U.S. standard." He laughed when I referred him back to the original 11 figure he mentioned for the number of people in his family. "We've had our anchor baby," he said. "Maria was born in Guatemala and so we're not leaving anytime soon." An anchor baby, from what troubled seas I wondered.
In talking to mi mama that night and sharing his story, she said in her usually skeptical way, "There's only one reason anyone leaves the United States by bus with so many kids." "Why?" I asked her. "Because they're running away from something."
Cassman was indeed "running away from something."
A former financial adviser has been sentenced in Nashville to four years in prison for mail and securities fraud.
Thirty-five-year-old Jeffrey L. Cassman was sentenced for bilking more than $500,000 from family, friends and members of his church in a Ponzi scheme.
Cassman spent some two years as a fugitive and was on the most-wanted list of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation before he was captured in Guatemala in 2010.
Prosecutors said Cassman lied to clients beginning in 2003 about how he would invest their money and the status of their investments.
Cassman pleaded guilty last December.
Cassman told investors, among other things, that he would invest their money in tax liens and other types of investments, that such investments were "guaranteed" or "fool proof," and that investors would receive a high rate of return. Contrary to those representations, however, Cassman did not, and never intended to, invest client funds in tax liens or other investments. Instead, Cassman used the funds for his personal expenses. In addition, in some cases, Cassman used a portion of the funds to repay older investors, giving them the false impression that the "returns" were from their investment. In reality, those returns were simply money derived from newer investors, and Cassman, rather than using the funds as promised, was perpetrating a type of Ponzi scheme.
Cassman's information remains on the FBI archives page:
As part of his prison sentence, Cassman was barred in the future from working in investment and financial positions and was ordered to repay over $500,000 in restitution to his victims, most of whom where Cassman's family, friends and members of his church.
United States Attorney Jerry Martin commented: "This case illustrates the unfortunate reality that fraudsters often victimize those closest to them. Investment frauds of any kind undermine the public's trust in the financial industry and leave a trail of victims. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue aggressively prosecute those who commit such crimes."
In sentencing Cassman, Judge Trauger also noted the "immense" harm Cassman had done, not only in financial terms, but in terms of the "emotional impact" on his immediate and extended family.
Those from whom he stole have written about him online: "Thanks to this 'charismatic sociopath,' my husband and I will never be able to retire. He financially destroyed us after we tried to help them. Don't believe the stories of him being a caring husband and father. He is more of a cult leader!"
I knew Jeff in Nashville and was "friends" with him for many years there. However, I always had that nagging feeling about him that you describe.
I know some of his victims very well. One is a retiree who [sic] Jeff went to Church with who trusted Jeff with a lot of money. I sincerely doubt his claims to any sort of piety. This man is a sociopath in the purest sense.
One colleague writes about how he stole from his own grandparents and in-laws:
Wake-up call for anyone who wants to "humanize" Jeff Cassman. He stole money from his in-laws ... his grandparents' life savings ... his aunt and numerous others from his church and family friends. He actually stole 50k from his father-in-law's best friend and had the nerve to send the guy a W-2, making him pay taxes on profits he never received!
He has brainwashed his wife, kids and a particularly naïve brother, the real Mark Francis, into believing that he is being "railroaded by the system for merely making bad legal investments" but that he is being a martyr for pleading guilty just to end the stress for others. ...
Jeff Cassman is a narcisist and a sociopath and a thief who can, apparently, tell a good story.
In 2008, Cassman signed a court-ordered consent decree promising to make restitution for the hundreds of thousands he stole. Instead of paying, he took his wife and nine children and fled the country to Central America, where he reinvented himself under the aliases "Don Marco," "Mark Francis" or "Mark Lassman."
According to the book Jeffrey Lynn Cassman: Captured by the FBI, authored by John Russell:
Jeffrey Lynn Cassman had done a stint in the Air Force, twice run for the Tennessee House of Representatives and lost, boasted he was a member of Opus Dei, only did Mass in Latin and bragged about his fake master's degree in theology.
His wife dropped another kid in Guatemala, so Cassman decided that he would use it as an anchor baby, convinced that Guatemalan authorities loved him and his children so much that they would defend him from any legal problems he had in the United States.
Not counting on the greed and treachery of some of his local friends, he was betrayed for the princely sum $1,000 once his "most wanted" poster was discovered online by someone else (whilst checking their own fugitive status).
Following Cassman's arrest, Antigua Guatemala burst spontaneously into celebration. Bars and Pubs offered "Don Marco" drinks at special happy hour prices, short order cooks created "Don Marco" hot dogs and burgers, others printed "Don Marco" T-shirts with demeaning slogans and sold them at inflated prices.
The cheapskates held drunken street parties and the snobs held garden and private dinner parties, whilst the Guatemalan locals went almost mental, unable to contain their joy at another gringo being caught and reinforcing all their prejudices.
An expatriate in Guatemala acquainted with Cassman wrote about his unethical practices there, which included "moving on with unpaid rent and uncompensated damages to the property left behind in [his] wake."
While Cassman portrays himself as a family man and devoted father, eyewitnesses accuse him of serial adultery:
This guy was a muppet. Pure and simple. I watched him try to juggle, in his words, "three bitches" from his iPhone during a poker game. A poker game, I might add that had a 200Q buy-in and re-buy, yet "Mark" deemed it necessary to put 20K on the table. This before he took another call from one of his "bitches" (not his wife) and was deemed persona non grata (he would have loved my use of the Latin) at our table and locked out for the night. This has nothing to do with Chapin corruption but rather a con-man whose biggest scam was fleecing his in-laws.
He notes, "Following his arrest, inquiries were made with his wife, where an empty refrigerator along with 10 hungry mouths were found. ... This monkey deserves everything he gets."
Another acquaintance who knew him in the Air Force reportedly confirms his infidelity:
Personally, I thought he was a nice enough guy (with a little too much pomposity for me), but there was something about him I could never put my finger on so I held him at an arms-length distance. He prided himself in front of authority figures as a family man but I found out differently once we served time in Panama City (Howard AFB), where he cheated on his wife on a regular basis.
Cassman has denied these allegations and continues to appear on Catholic podcasts offering tips on "how to strengthen the marriage" and other family advice.
Cassman continues to deceive the public about his past. On his current LinkedIn page, he falsely describes his years living as a fugitive in Guatemala as merely "an extended vacation."
He also touts his education from Holy Apostles Seminary, misleading the public so that he appears to have a degree. A search of the college's graduates, however, does not turn up Cassman's name, and he himself admitted at sentencing he has no theological degree from Holy Apostles:
In addition to admitting his guilt today, Cassman also admitted to another lie — one he won't be charged for. In the past, he has represented himself to victims as having a theological degree, even claiming as much on social websites such as LinkedIn.
Asked today by [Judge] Trauger what his highest level of education was, a question designed to make sure that he could not make claims of ignorance or misunderstanding later should he try to go back on his guilty plea, Cassman replied "College ... and some graduate courses."
Cassman has a college degree he obtained online through Missouri-based Park University, but claimed he had a master's in theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Connecticut [a falsehood].
In spite of Cassman's felony convictions over theft of funds, Cassman runs a nonprofit that actively solicits donations ostensibly on behalf of the needy — but the nonprofit is defunct and not legally recognized in his state.
Flower of Charity Ministries, a 501(c)(3) charity, claims to support:
As part of this mission, he hosts a GoFundMe page to raise money for a Christian refugee "family of five."
"Once donations reach $100, I will forward money to the family via Western Union, and I will post the receipt as well as the family's pictorial proof of the use of funds on each occasion," Cassman claims.
The fundraiser, however, has been paused by GoFundMe over an unspecified "issue."
That issue is likely related to the fact that Flower of Charity Ministries was dissolved in 2018 and remains defunct. Cassman's representation on his website that his "ministry" is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit is deceptive, and he is illegally soliciting donations on behalf of a defunct, non-legal entity.
Cassman hosts an SSPX Facebook page that blocks and bans critics of the Society, including those who post objective reports about sex abuse and cover-up by Society leadership. He is quick to accuse abuse victims of lying, even threatening some with lawsuits (which have never materialized) while attacking whistleblower media like Church Militant for so-called deceit, when, in truth, Cassman is the one with the long and troubled track record of deception, which continues to this day.
Church Militant has learned that even SSPX leadership is embarrassed by Cassman and has distanced itself from him, not wishing him to be an unofficial spokesman on its behalf.
Cassman reinvents himself with each new venture. He created a new persona, "Don Marco," as a fugitive in Guatemala, where he conned acquaintances. After his time in prison, he reinvented himself again — this time as a pious Catholic family man, continuing to con unwitting colleagues and friends.