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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Washington

Monday, September 10, 2018

California Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison for Defrauding Investors in Connection With Advance Fee Scheme

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Vassily Anthony “Tony” Thompson, age 64, of Los Angeles, California, was sentenced today after being found guilty after a February trial of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud. Chief United States District Judge Thomas O. Rice sentenced Thompson to a 9-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 3-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. Thompson was also ordered to pay $2,015,000 in restitution to his victims.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, Thompson and his conspirators, Derrick John Fincher and John Patrick Nixon, orchestrated an advance fee scheme that duped individuals into investing in three sham business ventures – a celebrity golf tournament in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, a movie studio in Montana, and a housing development near Charlotte, North Carolina, by falsely promising them access to tens of millions of dollars from the Export-Import Bank and other lending institutions. Thompson and his associates induced investors to pay “advance fees” of $160,000 to $1 million, which the investors were told was “show money” or “insurance fees.” In reality, Thompson used the money to pay his personal living expenses. Three victims were defrauded out of $2,015,000.

Joseph H. Harrington said, “Today’s sentence should send a strong message to would-be fraudsters who target individuals for financial gain. I commend the FBI and the Special Agents for their tenacity and dedication in uncovering and investigating this fraudulent scheme. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington will continue to prosecute aggressively white collar crime occurring in this District.”

Fincher will be sentenced on September 13, 2018.

This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by Scott Jones and Joseph Derrig, Assistant United States Attorneys for the Eastern District of Washington.

Press Release Number: 
Updated September 11, 2018