United States Attorney David B. Barlow
District of Utah
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MELODIE RYDALCH
MONDAY, AUG. 6, 2012 (801) 325-3206
JURY CONVICTS SIFTON ON FIVE WIRE FRAUD COUNTS
STEMMING FROM HARD MONEY LENDING SCAM
SALT LAKE CITY – A federal jury convicted Victor John Sifton, age 47, a Canadian citizen, of five counts of wire fraud stemming from a hard money lending scam perpetrated by Sifton and a co-conspirator, Jason Lawson, age 45, a former Park City mortgage broker. The jury returned the verdict Thursday night following a four-day trial in U.S. District Court.
Lawson pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2009 and served an 18-month prison sentence.
The hard money lending scheme involved six loans secured by Lawson primarily from former clients with whom he had built a relationship of trust. As part of the scheme to defraud, Lawson misrepresented to the clients that he had borrowers in need of short term loans, that there would be a 15 percent return, and that borrowers would pledge their residences as collateral. All of these representations were false.
On three of the six loans, Sifton offered the use of his mother’s name and condo in Vail, Colorado, as a borrower and collateral, respectively. Sifton also used his bank accounts to receive and disburse scheme proceeds to Lawson, prior lenders, third-party debtors, and for personal expenses. Five of the wire transfers underlying the foregoing movement of money supported the counts of conviction. The scheme brought in over $1,000,000.
Sifton’s sentencing is set for December 3, 2012 before Judge Dale A. Kimball. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each wire fraud conviction and fines of $250,000 per count.