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Debra Wong Yang
United States Attorney
Central District of California


United States Courthouse
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
Release No. 06-047

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PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2006
For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Thom Mrozek (213) 894-6947

ORANGE COUNTY MAN SENTENCED TO 21 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR RUNNING HALF-MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT SCAM


Los Angeles, CA - The former head of a now-defunct Orange County-based charitable organization, Hope for Life Foundation, was sentenced today to 21 months in federal prison for using the charity to bilk two victims out of more than $500,000.

Donald Westover, 36, formerly of Laguna Beach, was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge David O. Carter in Santa Ana. Westover pleaded guilty last August to one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud.

Westover, in addition to serving as head of Hope for Life, portrayed himself as an investment counselor. In this capacity, he solicited money from the victims with the promise of purchasing high-yield investments. In reality, Westover did not invest the money as promised. Instead, Westover used the money to pay personal expenses.

Westover admitted that he told investors in 2000 and 2001 that he was arranging financing on behalf of two telecommunications firms, Ericsson and Motorola Corporations. In exchange for providing cash to Ericsson and Motorola, Westover told investors, they would receive large returns once the financing deal had been completed. Based on these representations, one investor forwarded $433,333 to Westover, and the other sent $100,000. The money was deposited into the Hope for Life bank account.

In reality, Westover had no dealings with Ericcson or Motorola, and the financing arrangement he discussed with the investors did not exist. Westover admitted that, despite the fact he never invested the money as promised, he continued to assure investors that the money had been invested.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Release No. 06-047

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