SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Dec. 10, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — A Logan man was sentenced to five years in federal prison Friday for defrauding numerous individuals involved in his business venture investment schemes.
Ryan R. West, 45, of Logan, previously pled guilty in August of 2021 to four counts of wire fraud connected to his fraudulent schemes, according to a news release from the FBI. In total, West defrauded his victims of a cumulative amount of over $5.4 million between 2011 and 2016.
In addition to the five-year prison term, West was ordered to be on supervised release for three years after prison and was ordered to pay $5,420,206.98 in restitution to his victims and to forfeit $5,261,755.73 in proceeds and a 4-carat diamond.
“West’s first fraudulent scheme involved soliciting investments from an individual for a business venture involved in operating a gravel quarry in West Texas,” the FBI press release said. “Instead of using the investor’s money for the business venture, West used the money for personal expenses, including payments on a 4-carat diamond, and unrelated business expenses, and did not return any of the victim’s money. West also borrowed money for the quarry operations against the equity in the home of an individual he met through church. Most of the money was used to pay West’s personal expenses and not for the quarry. West defaulted on the loans and the individual lost his home in foreclosure.”
Another of West’s schemes involved soliciting investments in a commercial property flipping venture in North Dakota. West borrowed approximately $650,000 from several victims. Only $150,000 of $350,00 invested was ever used for the real estate venture. The rest of the money was used for other business ventures that West did not tell the investors about, or for West’s personal expenses. West sold the North Dakota property without telling his investors and netted $190,000 which he kept for himself, the news release said. Only one investor was ever repaid a $350,000 investment; the others each lost $100,000.
West’s co-defendant in the fraud, Gary Alan Gygi, 57, of Holladay, also pled guilty in August and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 16.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting fraudsters who prey on vulnerable members of our community,” said Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez. “Our thoughts are with the victims of this case, some of whom were elderly, vulnerable and met West through church, business and family connections.”