PHOENIX — A Gilbert man was ordered to serve prison time for leading an investment scheme that allowed him to scam millions of dollars out of dozens of victims in two years.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday that 40-year-old Cory Ryan Williams was sentenced to seven years in prison by U.S. District Judge Douglas L. Rayes.
Williams had pleaded guilty to one count of transactional money laundering last year.
He was accused of lying to his family, friends and fellow church members about the profitability of his investment scheme over the course of two years.
Court documents showed that Williams “traded significant volumes of E-Mini S&P 500 futures contracts in his personal trading accounts.”
In order to get others on board, he told them that he consistently earned a five percent return each week and that all investments were safe and would not lose money, the attorney’s office said.
Williams was able to solicit more than $13 million from more than 50 victims in a more than two-year period.
However, Williams lost more than $8.3 million of that money, “while at the same time fraudulently telling participants he was trading on their behalf at a profit,” court documents said.
Court documents said he used the remaining funds to pay approximately $1.3 million for his personal expenses and to return approximately $3.4 million to some participants.
He also diverted more than $800,000 of the victims’ funds to his own personal use.
A restitution hearing was scheduled for September. Williams will be ordered to pay restitution up to $13.5 million