SALT LAKE CITY -- Grant Affleck, convicted of eight counts of defrauding investors out of millions of dollars through his real estate development company, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.
If the AFCO Enterprises owner receives the maximum penalty on each of the eight counts of fraud, he could face up to 45 years in prison.
Affleck faced trial on 21 counts, but a jury during his six-week trial found him guilty of eight counts and innocent of the others. One of the charges was dismissed before the trial because a victim died.
Affleck was found guilty on one count of inducing a person to travel across state lines to commit fraud, six counts of securities fraud and one count of concealing or destroying bankruptcy records.
Nearly all of Affleck's investors were working-class Mormons. Paul Dunn, a Mormon Church leader, was an official of the company. Affleck said he solicited fellow Mormons so that they might have at least one chance at prosperity.
But his representations about the company to potential investors were lies, prosecutors said.
Affleck told investors that in late 1981, AFCO was financially sound and on the verge of being taken over by Japanese investors. A government investigation, however, showed the company was heavily in debt and on the brink of bankruptcy and that the Japanese bailout never was a possibility.
In his defense, Affleck's attorney, A. Brent Carruth, asserted his client was a 'visionary' -- a businessman whose techniques and dreams were legitimate but did not fit into an auditor's concept of fiscal accountability.
Carruth also said the American enterprise system depended on men like Affleck and warned that a guilty verdict would stifle creative genius.
AFCO went into receivership in 1982, only weeks after the last investor had been assured of the company's solvency.