A Kelowna man has been sentenced to six years in U.S. federal prison for stealing millions of dollars from Americans.
Randi A. Bochinski, 46, bilked investors using a Ponzi-style scheme in which he promised fantastic rates of return that never materialized.
He was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Boston. Bochinski pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering.
Along with the prison sentence, Bochinski was ordered to repay US$5,222,757.16 to the victims of his scam. After serving his sentence, Bochinski will be on a supervised release program for three years.
Also charged for similar offences was Bochinski's business partner, 78-year-old Alan Gilner of Florida. Convicted in June, he was also sentenced Friday, receiving seven years in prison. Gilner was also ordered to repay $5,222,757.16 to people whose money was lost.
Authorities said Gilner recruited investors, including friends and acquaintances, and also advertised in an investment newsletter. Gilner often made the initial presentations selling the high-yield investments and then brought Bochinski in when he needed help convincing investors to part with their money.
Through deals with companies with names such as Carlant Holdings Ltd., Bochinski promised investors returns approaching 1,000 per cent in only three months.
Once investors sent their money to either Gilner or Bochinski, the pair diverted the funds for other purposes, including their own personal uses.
In order to lull investors into believing their funds had been invested as promised, Bochinski and Gilner made at least some of the promised "return" payments, using money from other investors to fund the "returns."
On occasion, the pair also attempted to return money to frustrated investors using counterfeit cheques.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the IRS Criminal Investigations Division. It was prosecuted by the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney General in Boston.
After he was arrested in Canada earlier this year, Bochinski signed a plea agreement that reads in part: "I am entering into this agreement freely, voluntarily, and knowingly because I am guilty of the offences to which I am pleading guilty and I believe this agreement is in my best interest."
Under U.S. sentencing guidelines, Bochinski had faced up to 20 years in prison. However, because he co-operated with investigators and entered a guilty plea, prosecutors recommended a reduced sentence.