Florida man pleads guilty after allegedly scamming victims out of nearly $7M, including 2 from BR area
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A man from Miami, Fla. has now pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud after previously claiming innocence.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday, Sept. 25 that Wallace Byers, 59, was convicted. As a result, he faces a significant period of time in prison, a fine, and a period of supervised release.
The DOJ says according to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, Byers scammed mostly elderly people out of nearly $7 million, including two victims from Baton Rouge.
The indictment states Byers found potential victims through various social media sites, commercial services that provided investor leads, and documents that identified victims of other schemes. The indictment goes on to claim Byers talked victims into investing with his company, WBI Associates, llc, and promised victims their money would be invested in various things such as gold production, a lottery company, foreign currency, or “dark pools” or “blind pools.”
Rather than investing the victims’ money, Byers spent the funds on personal things, including about $10,000 per month in rent for his home in a Miami hotel, the lease of luxury vehicles, like a Ferrari, and gambling in casinos.
Byers received at least $6,888,000 as a result of the scheme. According to the indictment, two of Byers’ victims live in Louisiana, one in Baton Rouge and one in Baker.
The DOJ says Byers is also accused of engaging in international money laundering by sending $3,000,000 to a Swiss bank account in order to conceal where the money came from.
“This plea demonstrates our commitment to investigate and prosecute criminals who target our community with financial scams and abuse. Defendants who illegally line their pockets by deceiving and defrauding elderly victims have our attention and will be duly investigated and prosecuted. I am grateful for the outstanding efforts of our prosecutors and the dedicated professionals at the FBI whose collaboration and contributions were critical to the success of this important matter," said U.S. Attorney Brandon Fremin.
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