SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 8, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A Stansbury Park man pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in connection with the Affinity fraud scheme Wednesday in federal court.
Ronald Wayne Leavitt, 61, had targeted friends, members of his church, and some of their relatives in the scheme, according to the Department of Justice, District of Utah.
Sentencing in the case is set for June 4. If the court accepts terms of the plea deal, Leavitt will serve 36 months in jail and will pay $519,420.55 in restitution.
Leavitt admitted to fraudulently taking $679,420.55. He returned $160,000 of the money he obtained by fraud to three of the victims, he said.
In court documents filed as part of the plea agreement, Leavitt acknowledged that he “told a variety of lies to friends and neighbors to get them to invest in his schemes. He told some that he owned several limousines while telling others he was the executor of (a) large trust fund and that he owned property worth millions of dollars,” the Department of Justice statement said.
“He told some victims he had inherited millions of dollars from his parents. He also told victims that the investment opportunity was limited, and if they were lucky, he could get them a spot in the investment. He told other victims that an investor had pulled out, and, although other investors would be upset, he would allow them to invest and make it work.”
After gaining their trust, the statement said Leavitt would convince people to invest in “ventures” including real estate in California or Moab, or a sugar substitute start-up company.
In all cases, “Leavitt admitted he kept the funds for himself and spent them,” the DOJ statement says.