Longtime Con Man Sentenced to 8 Years in Federal Prison for Role in $3 Million Gold Investment Scheme that Bilked 7 Investors
LOS ANGELES – A Beverly Hills man who has a long history of swindling investors and admitted most recently to participating in a scheme involving bogus gold contracts – and giving fake gold bars as “collateral” to victims – has been sentenced to 96 months in federal prison.
Mark Ross Weinberg, 63, was sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Manuel Real. In addition to the prison term, Judge Real ordered Weinberg to pay $2,982,181 in restitution to his victims.
The sentencing followed Weinberg’s guilty pleas in May to conspiracy and wire fraud charges.
A second man charged in relation to the scheme – Dale Washam Talbert, 63, also of Beverly Hills – was sentenced by Judge Real in June to five years in federal prison, which was the statutory maximum sentence for the conspiracy count to which he pleaded guilty.
The victim who sustained the largest losses in the scheme, a lifelong friend of Talbert, was induced to invest $2.4 million and lost nearly all of that money. After this victim referred the scheme to the FBI, which seized some of the defendants’ assets, Weinberg and Talbert solicited the other six victims in the Los Angeles area and convinced them to invest more than $645,000.
Weinberg and Talbert, whose scheme ran from mid-2013 through the end of 2015, participated in a scheme in which they claimed to be traders of gold options in an account maintained in Japan. The two men told victims that they would use invested funds on a short-term basis to lock in and liquidate gold trading contracts they had previously acquired. Investors were promised substantial returns on their investments, after being shown fabricated account statements that falsely reflected multi-million balances and given gold bullion bars as collateral that were in fact fake. These and other claims made by Weinberg and Talbert – such as their being represented by an international law firm and major accounting firm – simply were false.
During the time of the gold investment scam, Weinberg was on supervised release after serving a 33-month federal prison sentence stemming from his 2006 conviction for defrauding investors by using counterfeit bank checks. Weinberg’s criminal history also includes California and Nevada state convictions and prison sentences resulting from his defrauding investors in the 1990s.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Richard E. Robinson of the Major Frauds Section.