Former Indiana man sentenced on securities fraud charges
Larry Westby swindled friends and acquaintances out of nearly $1 million
Indianapolis - United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced today the sentencing of a former Indiana man who stole nearly one million dollars from unsuspecting investors. Larry M. Westby, 65, currently residing in Vanderbilt, Michigan, was sentenced to 90 months (7.5 years) imprisonment by Chief U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson after pleading guilty to wire fraud, securities fraud and fraud in the offer or sale of securities.
“Perpetrators of fraud crimes not only jeopardize their victims’ financial security, but they also rob their victims of the trust they once had in their own judgment and in others,” said Minkler. “When a person or business intentionally deceives Indiana investors with promises of financial benefits that do not exist, were never intended to be provided, or were misrepresented, they will be prosecuted by this office to the fullest extent of the law.”
Westby was a licensed respiratory therapist and president of LMW, Inc., a company purported to be selling respiratory therapy protocols to doctors. The protocols allowed doctors to perform treatments inside their own offices, rather than in a hospital.
In January 2010, Westby began using the LMW website to communicate with current and potential LMW investors indicating he was exploring selling his company for a substantial profit. In these communications, Westby made false statements about the nature of LMW, its financial condition, and the risk and status of investments in LMW. For example, Westby told potential investors that LMW was about to be sold for $36.5 million to a company called Global Spot in an effort to convince investors to buy LMW common stock. Unbeknownst to investors, Global Spot was a non-existent, sham entity. Westby also concealed from his investors that he had not registered LMW with the Indiana Secretary of State as a company properly registered to engage in the issuing of stock certificates. Further Westby did not tell investors that he had failed to properly register LMW common stock certificates with the Secretary of State.
Through these false communications, Westby took in more than $985,000 from his investors, then used the funds to purchase two vehicles, repay a personal loan, pay personal credit card bills, and buy a vintage basketball court for his home.
This case was jointly investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the Indiana Secretary of State.
IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge, Gabriel Grchan, stated, “Mr. Westby told convincing stories to cover his tracks; however, at the end of the day his lies didn’t add up and IRS special agents solved the problem. Together with our federal partners we work vigorously to shut down corrupt, illegal behaviors that threaten honest and lawful investment practices.”
"This sentence sends a clear message that illegal business practices will not be tolerated," said W. Jay Abbott, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Indianapolis Division. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue individuals who steal money from the pockets of hardworking Hoosiers."
"Mr. Westby was not registered to sell securities with my office," said Secretary of State Connie Lawson. "This is often the number one warning sign that the investment may be a scam. I encourage all investors to do their homework and research investment professionals before making a deal. Hoosiers can ensure their investment professional is registered by looking on our website or by calling our office."
According to Assistant United States Attorney Tiffany J. Preston who is prosecuted this case for the government, Westby must make restitution of over $985,000 and serve three years of supervised release following his sentence.