In August 2005, 31-year-old John Wannamaker of Dallas pled guilty to a federal indictment charging him with a menu's worth of bad stuff: conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud, actual wire and securities fraud, money laundering and "illegal monetary transactions." Well, today Wannamaker found out his punishment: U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade sentenced him to a 110-month prison term (which, by my math, puts him in the clink for 9.16666666666666667 years, more or less) and ordered him to to pay $2,224,490 to the folks he swindled.
And what, precisely, did young Johnny Wannamaker do? Well, you can read the entirety of the release from U.S. Attorney Richard Roper, but in summary, since January 2001 Wannamaker and his two partners--Patrick Price of High Ridge, Missouri, and Nancy Harlan Saporta of Denver, Colorado, who pled guilty this summer and will be sentenced early next month--ran something called 3KTrade out of Carrollton, which they told would-be suckers was a "a large and highly successful business" that invested in "real estate, business acquisitions and international banking funds." Says Roper's release, "They also represented that it had made loans to the Federal Reserve Bank of the U.S. and the return rate on investments was 100 - 150%. They further represented that investors' money would be used as collateral only, the invested funds would never leave the bank account, and that the invested funds were guaranteed."
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In short: Not so much. --Robert Wilonsky