On Tuesday August 20, 44-year-old Douglas Ellingson pleaded guilty to defrauding investors of over $2 million, according to the Courthouse News Service. Ellingson, along with two other individuals, James Pantazelos and William Ison, allegedly conspired to defraud investors through Olathe Mining Co., a business owned by Ison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Authorities claim Ellingson enticed potential clients to invest in the company by lying about Ison’s background, among other things. Because of his actions, investors became the victims of fraud. Ellingson and Ison allegedly told potential investors that Ison contributed more than a “trillion” dollars to a variety of humanitarian causes, and was the head of a large non-profit foundation that contributed this money. Essentially, Ellingson and his co-defendants enticed potential clients to hand over their money by making promises that charitable causes would be supported by the profits.
In February, Pantazelos was ordered to pay $3.3 million in restitution; he was also sentenced to 19 1/2 years in federal prison. Ellingson will be sentenced to up to five years in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy in late October according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
At a sentencing hearing, judges typically have a variety of factors to consider when determining what the defendant’s sentence will be. The judge will listen to arguments presented by both the defense and prosecution, which help him or her to determine the sentence suitable to the case. While his potential sentence is as long as five years, it will be interesting to learn what takes place at Ellingson’s sentencing hearing, and what the final verdict will ultimately be.
This wire fraud case illustrates some interesting points, not the least of which is the fact that federal criminal charges may be brought against an individual accused of defrauding investors. In generally, federal prosecution leaves an individual facing more serious penalties if convicted. In addition, a substantial prison term is not unusual in federal cases involving fraudulent activity, as is evident considering Pantazelos’s 19 1/2 year sentence.
Any individual who has been accused of wire fraud or any investment fraud offense should consider speaking with a skilled and capable Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. Attorneys who focus on federal criminal defense are capable of providing effective legal support and guidance in even the most complex of cases, often obtaining positive results which would otherwise not be secured without the representation of a highly qualified lawyer.