sunny.png
Wednesday February 24th, 2021 1:00PM

Californian gets 10 years for $147M global investment scam

By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California man who bilked investors worldwide out of $147 million in a pyramid scheme was sentenced Monday to 10 years in federal prison.

Steve Chen, 63, of the Los Angeles-area suburb of Bradbury, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John F. Walter, who said Chen's “litany of lies" promoted a scam of “epic proportions," according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office.

Chen owned U.S. Fine Investment Arts, Inc. Between 2013 and 2015. The firm sold fake investments, “points" for shares when the company went public and a phony digital currency called “Gem Coins" that it claimed were backed by non-existent mines for amber and other gemstones in the U.S., the Dominican Republic, Argentina and Mexico, prosecutors said.

Some 72,000 victims invested. In the style of a classic pyramid scheme, some money was used to repay early investors but most lost their money to Chen, authorities said.

“The company did not generate any significant revenue from its business operations, apart from sales of investment packages to victim-investors,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Chen pleaded guilty last summer to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of tax evasion. He was ordered to repay nearly $1.9 million to the Internal Revenue Service and a July court hearing was scheduled to decide how much he must repay investors.

Leonard Johnson, 54, of Huntington Beach, who worked with Chen, pleaded guilty in 2019 to tax evasion and making a false statement on an immigration document. He awaits sentencing.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Business
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
State capitols step up security amid new safety concerns
State capitols across the country are under heightened security after the siege of the U.S. Capitol last week
7:13PM ( 15 minutes ago )
'Uncharted waters': More NBA games off as virus issues grow
The NBA has called off two more games because of COVID-related and contact tracing issues
7:07PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump, Pence speak for first time since attack
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have spoken for the first time since last Wednesday's Capitol insurrection, during which Pence was forced to flee the Senate chamber and retreat to a secure location
7:04PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Data snags cause Trump to miss giving Congress census data
The Trump administration has missed a deadline for giving Congress numbers used for dividing up congressional seats among the states, as the U.S. Census Bureau works toward fixing data irregularities found during the numbers-crunching phase of the 2020 census
6:31PM ( 57 minutes ago )
FBI warns of plans for nationwide armed protests next week
The FBI is warning of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals and in Washington, D
6:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump's Homeland Security chief resigns earlier than planned
President Donald Trump's acting head of the Department of Homeland Security is leaving his post earlier than planned
6:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
California virus deaths top 30,000 after deadliest weekend
California has hit another grim coronavirus milestone
3:05PM ( 4 hours ago )
No more puny prizes: Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots soar
After a long stretch of relatively paltry prizes, U.S. lottery players now have a choice of jackpots that offer combined prizes of more than $1 billion
1:21PM ( 6 hours ago )
Phoenix to honor late civil rights icon Calvin C. Goode
Arizona lawmakers, Phoenix residents and members of the Black community will celebrate the life and legacy of civil rights leader Calvin C
11:01AM ( 8 hours ago )
Top U.S. News short headlines
Ford announces closing of Brazil manufacturing operations
Ford Motor Co. says it will close three plants in Brazil and stop producing automobiles in the South American country where it has been operating since 1919
6:25PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Connecticut to open first mass vaccine site
Connecticut will open its first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the University of Connecticut’s football stadium within the next 10 days as the state prepares to administer shots to residents ages 75 and older
6:03PM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Louisiana expands vaccine delivery to elderly
Louisiana is boosting its distribution of coronavirus vaccines to the elderly
5:37PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
State capitols step up security amid new safety concerns
State capitols across the country are under heightened security after the siege of the U.S. Capitol last week
7:13PM ( 15 minutes ago )
'Uncharted waters': More NBA games off as virus issues grow
The NBA has called off two more games because of COVID-related and contact tracing issues
7:07PM ( 21 minutes ago )
The Latest: Trump, Pence speak for first time since attack
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have spoken for the first time since last Wednesday's Capitol insurrection, during which Pence was forced to flee the Senate chamber and retreat to a secure location
7:04PM ( 23 minutes ago )
House speeding to impeach Trump for Capitol 'insurrection'
With impeachment pressure mounting, the House is speeding ahead to try to oust President Donald Trump from office
6:52PM ( 35 minutes ago )
Gonzaga, Baylor remain atop AP Top 25; UConn in at No. 25
Gonzaga and Baylor remain atop The Associated Press men’s basketball poll for the seventh consecutive week in the regular season
6:52PM ( 36 minutes ago )