Florida man admits to fraud charge involving nearly $5 million
CLARKSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – Phillip W. Conley, of Jacksonville, Florida, has admitted to a fraud charge, Acting U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Bernard announced.
Conley, 38, pleaded guilty to one count of “Securities Fraud.” Conley admitted to scheming approximately 18 individuals in excess of $5 million from 2014 to 2019. The victims were from all over the United States, including West Virginia and Maryland.
Conley operated a company by the name of Alpax, LLC, portraying himself as an investment advisor living and working out of Morgantown and Kingwood, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. He developed a scheme to defraud investors by convincing the victims to give him and his companies money for him to invest for returns for the victims. He gave the victims a false sense of security by mailing them false dividend statements, claiming a positive rate of return for their investments. Conley fraudulently obtained approximately $5.2 million dollars from 18 victims, but invested little or none of that money and spent much of it on private jet flights, expensive meals, clothes, jewelry, housing and living expenses for himself, returning only about $210,000 to the victims.
Conley faces up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $5 million. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
As a part of the plea agreement, Conley agreed to the forfeiture of any property purchased from the proceeds of the crimes, including a money judgment of $4,868,744.60.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Danae DeMasi-Lemon is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI investigated.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.