Corvallis ex-lawyer sentenced to prison for defrauding investors in real estate investment scheme, evading income taxes
MISSOULA –A former lawyer who admitted to defrauding investors and to evading income taxes in a real estate investment scheme in which he lost more than $1 million in the futures market was sentenced today to three years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, Acting U.S. Attorney Leif M. Johnson said.
Ronald Dean Lords, 53, of Corvallis, pleaded guilty in July to wire fraud, money laundering and filing false tax returns.
U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy presided. The court will determine restitution at a later date. Lords was ordered to self-report to prison.
“Lords used his attorney-client relationship to gain access to victims’ money and then abused their trust to gamble away their money in the futures market. Lords also tried to cheat on his income taxes by failing to declare investors’ money as income. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to catch and convict white collar criminals, hold them accountable and seek justice for victims,” Acting U.S. Attorney Johnson said.
“IRS-CI will continue to identify and investigate those such as Lords, who abuse their position to victimize their clients and violate the public trust,” said Special Agent in Charge Andy Tsui of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s Denver Field Office. “Those in positions of trust must be held to a higher standard and today's sentencing is a step in the right direction holding those who violate the law accountable for their actions.”
The government alleged in court documents that Lords was a lawyer, who operated Eagles Landing Legal Services, PC, and a licensed realtor and general contractor, who operated Eagles Landing Construction, Inc. The construction company purported to develop real property and build homes. From 2011 to 2018, Lords defrauded 14 victims by convincing them to invest money in his construction company. Lords told the victims he would use the money to build homes, make monthly interest payments and repay the money after the homes were sold. Lords also said he would return the victims’ money within 30 days of any request. Instead of using the money to fund construction projects, Lords used some of the new money to make interest payments to prior investors and lost the majority of the funds in the futures market. When some victims demanded their principal back, Lords admitted he lost more than $1 million in the futures market and did not have their money.
The government further alleged that Lords failed to declare $432,608 he received from several victims in 2015 as “other income” on his taxes, resulting in unpaid taxes of $152,734 for that year.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Racicot prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation.