The crime was theft – in its purest sense. Stanley Leitner, age 69, from Argyle, Texas was found guilty after little more than two hours of jury deliberation. His crime – an investment fraud scheme where he defrauded more than 100 victims, many of whom were pastors, their friends and families.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s news release:
Leitner was convicted on six counts of wire fraud, one count of securities fraud, one count of failing to disclose compensation for promoting a security, 13 counts of money laundering, and six counts of engaging in illegal monetary transactions. Each wire fraud count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The securities fraud conviction carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine and the failure to disclose compensation for promoting a security count carries a maximum statutory sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Each money laundering count carries a maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Each count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions carries a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Leitner is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Fish on April 22, 2008
Now, facing all those indictments, I am amazed that Leitner didn’t seek to plead guilty and forgo the jury trial. Surely he could not have thought that a jury would find him innocent? Hum, maybe he’s like Wesley Snipes (who’s on trial for tax fraud) and thought he didn’t understand what he was doing. Right!
From April 2004 to July 2005, Leitner was President and CEO of Megafund Corp., an entity he created to solicit investors to participate in (what he called a “High Yield” investment program. Leitner took the money – pooled it – and sent it to another individual’s overseas bank account in the Antilles. During this short fraudulent stint, Leitner raised more than $15 million from investors.
Leitner was found guilty of devising and executing a scheme to defraud his investors by making representations about the trading program he knew were not true, and not telling them material information he knew to be true, which led the investors into believing that there was little or no risk of losing the invested funds. In addition, Leitner failed to inform investors that he was not transferring to the program some of the funds investors sent to him, but instead was using those monies to fund several personal ventures and projects, including, among other things, a movie.
As a keynote speaker(www.chuckgallagher.com), I talk to audiences nationwide about choices and consequences. Leitner is soon to face the consequence of his misguided actions. Based on the sentencing guidelines and the magnitude of the crime, I would expect that Mr. Leitner will see his last days on this earth in prison. Every choice has a consequence. My presentations deal with the Truth About Consequences and in this case…Leitner’s choices will yield consequences that I doubt he ever imagined.