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Press Release

Attorney Sentenced for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – Former California attorney David Kaplan, of Las Vegas, was sentenced on August 3, by U.S. District Court Judge Christine M. Arguello for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. 

According to the information contained in court documents, between approximately September 2014 through October 2015, Kaplan and two other individuals worked to defraud investors out of money and property through materially false and fraudulent representations. The co-conspirators obtained approximately $12 million from investors by claiming they could invest risk-free in offshore investments with an occasional 10% return on investment per month. As part of the scheme, Kaplan established and controlled business entities, including several charitable organizations, to deposit and transfer investor funds and pay himself for personal expenses. Using his position and attorney trust accounts, Kaplan was able to gain the trust of investors and create the pretense that investor monies were held in trust. Kaplan made payments to investors to lull them and encourage the recruitment of additional investors.  

”Of course, attorneys are not above the law, and this sentencing demonstrates that we can, and will, prosecute anyone who breaks the law to the fullest extent,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch. “We are proud of the cumulative effort of all who helped ensure Mr. Kaplan could not victimize additional investors.”

Kaplan, who diverted over $2 million for his own personal benefit, pled guilty on April 7, 2021 and was sentenced to 36 months in prison yesterday.  Kaplan, never disclosed to investors the precise amount of financial benefit he was to receive, including the terms of his compensation, costs or fees, or the identity of the “Fiduciary,” despite investor requests for this information. 

“Investment schemes that seem too good to be true should be a warning to investors to stay clear,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui.  “This sentencing shows that IRS-CI will use all its investigative tools to stop the criminal behavior of those who prey on investors for their own personal financial gain.”

“Mr. Kaplan capitalized on his position of trust as an attorney to create an elaborate investment scheme, touting inflated returns and even leveraging support for several charities, all of which proved to be a mirage that cost investors millions," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. "Today’s sentence sends a message that the FBI will find criminals who greedily prey on investors and corrupt financial markets no matter how clever they believe they are. We thank IRS-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their diligent work on this case." 

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Neff.

Case Number:  19-cr-00237


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Olivia Walker

Updated August 4, 2021

Financial Fraud
Securities, Commodities, & Investment Fraud