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Press Release

Prominent Businessman for Private Consulting Group Sentenced to Federal Prison After Bilking Elderly Victim of $1.1 Million

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

PORTLAND, Ore. – Robert L. Keys, 65, an Oregon resident, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez to serve 70 months in prison, after pleading guilty to wire fraud, money laundering, and bankruptcy fraud.  Keys was also ordered to serve three years supervised release, and he must pay restitution in the amount of $1.1 million.  Keys was a prominent businessman who ran a company called Private Consulting Group, which at one time had assets of $400 million and managed investments for high net worth individuals around the country.

“People who prey upon our elderly citizens in this manner will be held accountable and are deserving of a lengthy prison sentence,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Billy Williams.  “This office is committed to prosecuting individuals for conduct that destroys the trust necessary for safe investments.” 

Keys pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of money laundering, and one count of bankruptcy fraud at his change of plea hearing held on September 9, 2014.  At that hearing, the government contended that in 2008, as Keys’ business ventures were failing, he turned to one of his long-term clients, a widow in her mid-80s, and persuaded her to loan $1.1 million to co-defendant William Kearney, now deceased.  Keys lied to his client about the terms of the loan, such as the existence of treasury bonds as collateral for the loan, and he failed to disclose important facts to her in order to fraudulently obtain money for his benefit and that of Kearney.

Keys also received over $100,000 in kickbacks as part of the scheme to defraud his long-time client. Those kickbacks were wired to him by Kearney the day after Keys persuaded his client to loan Kearney the $1.1 million.

In addition to the wire fraud and money laundering charges, Keys and his wife filed for bankruptcy in 2010, and Keys fraudulently attempted to discharge $148 million in debt by lying to the Bankruptcy Court, concealing assets and income, and filing false documents with the Court.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the United States Trustees Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney and Senior Litigation Counsel Allan M. Garten.

Updated March 31, 2015

Financial Fraud