On Friday, it was announced that 61-year-old Ronald Wayne Leavitt of Stansbury Park, Utah was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison. The defendant targeted friends, members of his church and some of their relatives in an affinity fraud scheme. Leavitt previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in March. Court documents show that Leavitt admitted that he told several lies to friends and neighbors to convince them to invest in his scheme.
He told some of the victims that he owned several limousines, while telling others that he was the executor of a large trust fund and owned property worth millions. He further told other victims that he inherited millions from his parents. He went on to tell the victims that the investment opportunity was limited, but he could get them a spot if they were lucky. Other victims were told that an investor had pulled out and he would allow them to invest.
After Leavitt managed to gain their trust, he admitted he convinced several individuals to invest in one of three different ventures. He pitched a real estate venture in California, a real estate development venture in Moab and a sugar substitute start-up company. Leavitt eventually admitted that the real estate venture in California was an investment he fabricated. The defendant admitted to spending the majority of the money he acquired from the victims rather than investing it in anything.
Further details have been made available here.