28 September – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – A father-and-son fraud team who convinced victims to transfer more than $8 million into European bank accounts have been sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to fraud and money laundering counts.
James Carroll Sexton, 65, of Cayucos, was sentenced yesterday to 88 months in federal prison. His son, James Carroll Sexton Jr., 26, of Las Vegas, Nevada, was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in prison.
The Sextons were sentenced in federal court in Los Angeles by United States District Judge Robert M. Takasugi, who scheduled another hearing on November 28 to determine the amount of restitution the defendants will owe and what property will be forfeited to the government.
The Sextons each pleaded guilty on March 10 in the midst of a trial that had lasted six weeks. The guilty pleas came after Sexton Jr. entered into a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Sexton Jr. subsequently pleaded guilty to four counts of mail fraud and a conspiracy to launder money. As part of the plea agreement, Sexton Jr. also agreed to testify against his father.
Upon disclosure of the plea agreement with his son, Sexton pleaded guilty to all 19 counts in an indictment. The elder Sexton pleaded guilty to 11 counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy to money launder.
During the trial, witnesses testified that the elder Sexton posed as an attorney and told victims he would establish a “bank within a bank,” or a trust account, at banks in Liechtenstein, a country near Switzerland with strict bank secrecy laws. Victims testified that they were told their money would be safe, secure and held under their sole control.
Bank records and witnesses showed that between May 1998 and February 1999 victims transferred more than $8 million to the accounts ostensibly established on their behalf by Sexton. In reality, Sexton was the sole owner and controller of the accounts. When foreign bankers began to question Sexton about the true owners of the funds, he misrepresented the source of funds and, with the assistance of Sexton Jr., withdrew the victims’ funds and moved the money through various other foreign bank accounts under fictitious names and nominees in an effort to conceal and disguise ownership.
Liechtenstein law enforcement authorities provided extensive and prompt assistance to United States authorities and returned more than $4 million of the fraud proceeds to the U.S. T
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Santa Maria Resident Agency, and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, Santa Maria office.