Two California men, one a former investment advisor, were found guilty Tuesday of conspiracy to defraud a wealthy investor of $1 billion in what was actually an FBI sting operation.
William J. Ferry of Newport Beach, Calif., a former stockbroker and investment advisor, and Dennis J. Clinton of San Diego, a former real estate investment manager, were found guilty in federal court in Santa Ana of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud.
The two had tried to persuade an undercover FBI agent to invest in a high-yield investment program that they (falsely) said would be overseen by the Federal Reserve, one that promised little risk. The investments supposedly involved projects that would include humanitarian efforts such as assistance for Hurricane Katrina victims.
Others were arrested earlier and convicted or await trial in connection with the scheme.The two face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each fraud count.
The effort, according to the U.S. attorney general's office, is part of undercover operations to stop fraud before actual victims are harmed.