Daniel Wise, 55, Scottsdale, faces 102 counts of fraud and money laundering in the alleged scheme, which involved making short-term, high-interest loans for real estate ventures in 2005-08.
The U.S. Attorney's office in Phoenix said in a written statement that Wise solicited some $66 million from investors to bankroll the loans; however, the loans were never made. Most of the funds were used to pay other investors with Wise allegedly skimming off $7 million for himself.
"This scheme serves as an unfortunate reminder that all investors, both novice and experienced, should exercise caution before committing their hard-earned money to investment opportunities that promise high-yield returns with little or no risk," said Acting U.S. Attorney Ann Birmingham Scheel.
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