Real estate exec gets 11 years in prison for fraud

August 07, 2008 03:13PM

The president of a real estate investment firm was sentenced today in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan to 135 months in prison, over 11 years, after being convicted of defrauding 235 investors out of $22 million.

The firm’s president, Wilson James Baston, Jr., 46, pled guilty to 17 counts of mail fraud and wire fraud charges in connection with the scheme, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney General’s office.

Baston convinced victims that his firm, Will James Equity Partners, would “provide short-term, high rates of return on investments in distressed properties, with additional guarantees on the principal investment,” according to the release.

After collecting investments from equity partners, Baston would evade and lie to clients about their investments, advising members of the firm’s staff to evade the clients as well, prosecutors said.

Baston must forfeit his $22 million dollars of profits. After prison, he will serve three years of supervised release. TRD