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Colorado trio guilty in $30 million investment scam

As we discussed last week, federal judges appear to be toughening up on white collar criminals around the nation, enforcing lengthy prison sentences maybe with the intent to deter other powerful business figures from using their positions to commit fraud.

It will be interesting to see if this is the case for a Grand Junction, Colorado, man who was recently found guilty of fraud, money laundering and other charges relating to a $30 million investment scam in the state.

An indictment said that the man operated a business in Grand Junction called Valley Investments which he used to swindle millions of dollars from about 400 people who were promised returns on their investments from 10 percent to 16 percent.

The investments were said to be secured by a real estate deed of trust in the investor's name, but the U.S. Attorney for Colorado said Valley Investments "did not own sufficient property or assets to secure the investments as represented."

Instead, the U.S. Attorney said that the invested funds "went to personal expenses, family expenses and other non-business expenditures. He said that the man was also found guilty of conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy and will be sentenced on a date that is yet to be determined.

Until then, the man remains free on bond, other than a hearing on victim losses and restitution that is scheduled for October 27.

Two co-defendants have already pled guilty for their roles in the operation and are set be sentenced Oct. 14. One co-defendant appears to be the man's son who was a co-owner of the business, and the other was reportedly an employee of Valley Investments.

The U.S. Attorney said that after an investigation by the FBI and IRS, it was determined that the three men "continued to misrepresent to investors that the business was thriving, and never disclosed to new investors how their money was being used."

When it comes to while collar crimes, suspects are not usually indicted until federal agents have spent a significant amount of time building a strong case against them. That is why it is extremely important to retain an experienced attorney who can help protect your rights immediately after an investigation begins.

Source: Denver Business Journal, "Grand Junction man convicted in $30 million investment scheme,"7/21/2011.

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