News and Press Releases

La Jolla, California Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Defrauding New Mexico Investor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE – United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that, this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, Paul Conrad Ward, Jr., 63, entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of a six-count indictment charging him with wire fraud under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, Ward will be sentenced to a 21-month term of imprisonment to be followed by a three-year term of supervised release.  Ward, a lawyer who resides in La Jolla, California, remains on release under pretrial supervision pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

Ward was indicted on August 10, 2010 and charged with devising a scheme to defraud an investor in New Mexico (the Victim) under false pretenses.  According to the indictment, which was superseded on February 24, 2011, Ward perpetrated his fraudulent activity between December 11, 2006 through August 20, 2008 by inducing the Victim to give $500,000 to a business entity controlled by Ward, purportedly to be invested in an overseas trading program.  However, instead of investing the money as promised,  Ward used the $500,000.00 for his own personal use and that of others.

Ward was indicted on August 10, 2010 and charged with devising a scheme to defraud an investor in New Mexico (the Victim) under false pretenses.  According to the indictment, which was superseded in February 24, 2011, Ward perpetrated his fraudulent between December 11, 2006 through August 20, 2008 by forming two business entities and using those entities to solicit $500,000.00 from the Victim.  Although Ward promised the Victim that he would invest her money in a trading program, he instead used the $500,000.00 for his own personal use and that of others.

In his plea agreement, Ward admitted soliciting and accepting $500,000.00 from the Victim under false pretenses.  He further admitted that he did not invest the money as promised, but instead in less than three weeks spent almost all of the money for his own personal use and the use of others.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, Ward is required to pay restitution in the amount of $500,000.00, plus applicable interest to his Victim, within a year of his release from prison.  Ward also is required to pay $30,000.00 to his Victim to cover the costs of civil attorneys retained by the Victim to assist her in recouping her money; the $30,000.00 also must be paid within a year of Ward’s release from prison.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, the remaining counts of the indictment will be dismissed after Ward is sentenced.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney George C. Kraehe.
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