Four Oklahomans were convicted Friday in Oklahoma City federal court for their roles in a scheme to defraud investors of more than $14 million.
Jurors deliberated nearly two days before returning guilty verdicts against Robert Gerald Craft of Jones, Diane Lenore Griffith of Anadarko, Roy Mathew of Edmond and Dennis Dean Dazey of Tulsa.
The four were named in a 60-count indictment in May after a two-year investigation by the U.S. attorney's office, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Oklahoma Securities Department. It alleged the four defendants committed securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
A fifth person named in the indictment, Denise Ruth Jones of Oklahoma City, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors before the nearly three-week trial started. Jones pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Jones, along with the other four defendants, could face up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge. Craft, Griffith, Mathew and Dazey face the possibility of several other sentences for additional charges, U.S. Attorney Rob ert McCampbell said.
The indictment alleged the five-year investment scheme was carried out through Craft's Oklahoma City company, Wealth-Mart.
Prosecutors said investors visited Wealth-Mart offices for meetings and were told Craft was a Christian businessman with special knowledge of overseas investments. Investors were also told Dazey had relationships with international financial institutions, they said.
Investors' money was used to make payments to Wealth-Mart employees, buy cars, take more than 50 people on a Caribbean cruise, and buy an Edmond home for nearly $400,000, prosecutors said.
McCampbell said the scheme was far-reaching.
"This case was immensely important, not only because over $14 million was stolen, but because over 200 victims were defrauded, he said.
Prosecutors considered Craft to be at the center of the scheme. Jurors found him guilty on 59 separate counts.
Craft covered his face with his hand and slumped in his chair as U.S. District Judge David Russell read aloud the guilty verdicts, one by one.
Griffith was found guilty on 14 counts, Dazey on 12 counts and Mathew on three counts.
McCampbell said it could be up to three months before all the defendants' sentences are decided.
All four defendants were free on bail, but Russell denied bail for Craft and Dazey, saying he believed they were flight risks.
The men will be held in the Oklahoma County jail.
Russell allowed Griffith and Mathew to remain free on bail.
Attorneys for Griffith and Mathew told Russell their clients planned to appeal their convictions.Archive ID: 1144303