British expat pensioner gets jail time for investment fraud

Published:  31 Jul at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Last Wednesday, a sentence of nine years in jail for conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering was handed down to a British expat by a San Jose judge.

Laurence Miles, 76, had admitted one count each of money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and the fraud itself, and was in court along with his four co-defendents. The fraudster, who’d been living in the USA since 1998, had scammed unsophisticated investors into believing he was a trustee for a high-value estate at present under a secret probate and owned by an heiress named Shirley. He told his victims that for every dollar they invested for ‘Shirley’s’ care, they would receive $1,000 once the probate had been settled.

According to the US Attorney’s Office, Miles and his four accomplices gained the sum of $8,202,971 from the scam, all of which they kept for themselves as, of course, there was no heiress or estate. Apparently, although Miles had a key role in the scam, his co-defendant Shirley Molina had orchestrated the fraudulent scheme and already used it in the '80s and ‘90s, for which she had been convicted on two occasions. The pair began working together in 2004, and were finally caught early this year die to complaints from those who’d fallen for the scam.

Unusually, the sentence handed down by US District Court judge Lucy Koh was exactly what was demanded by the prosecuting attorney leading the case and also miles apart from the derisory four months’ jail requested by the defence team. The defence's main plea was based on the unlikely suggestion that Miles had actually believed in the story himself.

In their sentencing memorandum, the defence lawyers claimed he now recognised his illegal actions and deeply regrets his false statements and the damage he’s done to peoples’ lives. Miles’s jail sentence will be followed by three years’ supervised release and he must pay a forfeiture money claim of $5,.6 million. His co-defendants have also pleaded guilty to all charges and are due to be sentenced later in the year.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive