American adviser gets 22 years in prison for fraud

Pedro Gonçalves
American adviser gets 22 years in prison for fraud

A financial adviser in the US who once pretended to be a Harvard-educated will spend the next 22 years in prison after he defrauded his own family out of millions.

Treyton Lee Thomas has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for his role in a fraud scheme that resulted in the theft of $1.9m from a number of victims, including his wife and father.

Thomas represented himself as a Harvard educated investment adviser and convinced his wife and father-in-law to invest conservatively in US Treasury Bills. He also convinced his own father to invest via his used car warranty company and took money from customers of the company.

In reality, Thomas used the funds to conduct risky trades in the commodities and futures market via an online brokerage firm.

Thomas used offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Nevis, to hide his income from the Treasury Department. Several victims spoke at the sentencing hearing, according to Higdon, describing the emotional and financial toll Thomas's crimes had taken on them.

In addition to the money that was lost on risky trades, he also used more than $2.35m to pay personal expenses.

But his crimes didn't stop there, court documents show.

"The Probation Office concluded the defendant paid an individual $500 to place a ‘hex' on (the lead prosecutor), offered to pay a fellow inmate $10,000 to harm her and attempted to call an undercover federal agent who the defendant believed could get rid of her for a fee," prosecutors said in the sentencing memorandum.

The 63-year-old man, who lived in Charlottesville, Va. at the time of his arrest in 2016, pleaded guilty in October 2018. Thomas was also ordered to pay $7.3m in restitution to his victims and $7.3m in forfeiture to the US government.


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