Arizona and California Men Sentenced for 20 Million Dollar Investment Fraud
An Arizona man and a California man were sentenced to 15 years and 5 months and 13 years in prison, respectively, for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering, in connection with a nationwide investment scheme involving fraudulent wireless spectrum and dental franchise investments.
According to court documents, from approximately 2011 through 2017, David Alcorn, of Scottsdale, Arizona, and Aghee William Smith II, of Roseville, California, were part of an investment fraud conspiracy that operated out of California, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, and Hampton Roads, among other locations across the country. Alcorn, Smith, and their co-conspirators—including Kent Maerki and his wife Norma Jean Coffin, of Arizona; Daryl Bank, of Florida; insurance salesman Tony Sellers, of Idaho; insurance salesman Tom Barnett, of California; attorney Billy Seabolt, of Williamsburg; Raeann Gibson, of Florida; and Roger Hudspeth, of Suffolk – deceived hundreds of unsuspecting investors, most of whom were at or near retirement age, by convincing them to invest in or send money to companies owned and controlled by Alcorn, Bank, and Maerki. Alcorn and others then misappropriated significant portions of the investment funds to pay for their criminal enterprise and lavish lifestyles, as well as to pay exorbitant commissions to Smith and other salesmen.
Smith began selling these fraudulent investments in 2011 for Alcorn, Maerki, and Bank. The conspirators used material misrepresentations to sell illiquid, highly speculative investments that were then used as vehicles for fraud. Trusting the conspirators’ fraudulent misrepresentations, unsuspecting investors cashed out of 401(k) and other retirement accounts to invest without knowing that Alcorn, Bank, and Maerki were immediately transferring 20%–70% of the funds to other companies they controlled in the form of purported “fees.” As a result of this investment fraud scheme, the victims suffered losses in excess of $20 million.
Bank was convicted after trial of conspiracy, mail and wire fraud, selling unregistered securities, securities fraud, and money laundering, and was sentenced in September 2021 to 35 years in prison. Maerki pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced in March 2021 to 16 years in prison. Seabolt was convicted after trial of conspiracy and mail fraud and sentenced in September 2021 to 10 years in prison. Gibson pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced in February 2020 to 10 years in prison. Hudspeth pleaded guilty to investment advisor fraud and money laundering and was sentenced in May 2018 to over 12 years in prison. Sellers pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced in January to 5 years in prison. Coffin pleaded guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced in April to 5 years in prison. Barnett will be sentenced in September.
Jessica D. Aber, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Darrell J. Waldon, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Investigations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; and Tira A. Hayward, Acting Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission provided significant assistance with this investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melissa O’Boyle, Elizabeth Yusi, and Andrew Bosse are prosecuting the case.
Combatting elder abuse and financial fraud targeted at seniors is a key priority of the Department of Justice. Elder abuse is an intentional or negligent act by any person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to an older adult. It is a term used to describe five subtypes of elder abuse: physical abuse, financial fraud, scams and exploitation, caregiver neglect and abandonment, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse. Elder abuse is a serious crime against some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, affecting at least 10 percent of older Americans every year. Together with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners, the Department of Justice is steadfastly committed to combatting all forms of elder abuse and financial exploitation through enforcement actions, training and resources, research, victim services, and public awareness. This holistic and robust response demonstrates the Department’s unwavering dedication to fighting for justice for older Americans.