Colorado man who defrauded Montana family of nearly $400,000 in African gold investment scheme sentenced to 27 months in prison
GREAT FALLS — An investment scheme in which a Colorado man admitted to defrauding a Montana family of $391,280 by purporting to invest the money in gold in Africa was sentenced today to 27 months in prison and fined $5,000, to be followed by three years of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
Geoffrey Wescott James, 59, of Denver, Colorado, pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris also ordered $391,280 restitution and allowed James to self-report to custody.
In court documents, the government alleged that from May 2019 until September 2020, Wescott falsely claimed he would receive payments from victims, which he would then transfer to Africa on behalf of victims for investments in overseas gold. The investment appeared enticing to victims because, among other reasons, it offered high rates of return in a short period of time. Because victims had difficulties in sending money overseas and to Africa, they were introduced to James. Instead of transferring the money overseas and to Africa for the intended purpose, James spent the money on items for himself and for other unauthorized purposes. When victims questioned where their money was located and demanded that their money be returned, James repeatedly claimed the money would be repaid soon, none of which was true. Wescott defrauded a family in Hill County of $391,280 in the scheme.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan G. Weldon prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Affairs Officer