MINNEAPOLIS - A federal jury in has convicted three Minnesota men in a $194 million Ponzi scheme that victimized more than 700 investors.
Jason "Bo" Beckman of Plymouth, Gerald Durand of Faribault and Patrick Kiley of Burnsville were convicted in Minneapolis Tuesday on a variety of charges, including money laundering and wire and mail fraud.
The three were accused of helping to defraud investors between 2005 and 2009 in a foreign currency trading program led by Trevor Cook.
"People save money their entire lives for retirement or to send their children to college," said United States Attorney B. Todd Jones following the verdicts. "Fraudsters who choose to bilk them out of that money by pretending to be their friends or 'advisors' are some of the worst kinds of criminals. We take our obligation to prosecute them very seriously, and we are very pleased with the jury's verdict in this particular case."
Cook pleaded guilty in 2010 to fraud and tax evasion and is serving 25 years in prison.
For their crimes, the defendants face a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each wire fraud and mail fraud count, ten years on each money laundering count, and five years on the conspiracy charge.
In addition, Beckman and Durand face a potential maximum penalty of three years on each false tax return count, and Beckman faces a potential maximum penalty of five years on the tax evasion charge. U.S District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis will sentence the men at a future hearing.
All three defendants will remain in custody until their sentences are determined.
The Ponzi scheme is considered the second largest in Minnesota history, trailing only the $3.65 billion fraud carried out by businessman Tom Petters.
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