Point Pleasant man sentenced to 3+ years for investment fraud
Defendant swindled victims out of more than $220,000
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A Point Pleasant man was sentenced today to 37 months in federal prison for an investment fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin announced. Mark Anthony, 40, who pleaded guilty last November to one count of mail fraud in connection with the scheme, also was ordered to repay more than $220,000 that he stole from his victims, including two elderly widows.
Anthony previously admitted that over a span of nearly 10 years, he deceived an elderly Point Pleasant couple into believing that he was a licensed investment representative who would invest their money in high-yielding annuities and money-market accounts. In all, the couple gave him more than $200,000 of their savings to invest, with the wife continuing to give Anthony money for supposed investments after her husband passed away. Instead of investing the money, Anthony stole it, spending the couple’s nest egg to buy things for himself and pay personal expenses. Occasionally, Anthony mailed the couple a small check that he pretended was a return on their investments. These checks were actually money from other sources, which Anthony sent to make his victims believe their so-called investments were producing legitimate returns. Anthony also mailed the couple fake tax forms that pretended to show their income from investments Anthony had made for them.
Anthony also defrauded at least three other victims as part of the same scheme.
“Protecting West Virginia’s senior citizens from scams like this has been a priority for me from day one,” said U.S. Attorney Goodwin. “This case is a reminder to stay vigilant. There are plenty more scammers out there like this defendant, who may seem trustworthy but are really out to separate people from their hard-earned savings. Always be wary of a deal that seems too good to be true.”
U.S. Attorney Goodwin’s website provides information for seniors to avoid becoming victims of fraud and other crimes: http://www.justice.gov/usao/wvs/Safe-senior-brochure.pdf.
Chief United States District Judge Robert C. Chambers imposed the sentence.
The West Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI investigated the case. Counsel to the United States Attorney Steve Ruby and Assistant United States Attorney Gabriele Wohl handled the prosecution.