An accomplice in a scheme to defraud investors of more than $14 million was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison and ordered to pay nearly $3 million in restitution.
Denise Ruth Jones of Oklahoma City was one of five people named in May 2002 in a 60-count indictment alleging securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
Jones reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud. She was a key witness in the government's case.
Four others involved in the scheme Robert Gerald Craft of Jones, Diane Lenore Griffith of Anadarko, Roy Mathew of Edmond and Dennis Dean Dazey of Tulsa were convicted in February. The four are awaiting sentencing.
According to the indictment, the five-year fraud involved Craft's Oklahoma City company, Wealth-Mart.
Investors visited Wealth-Mart and were told Craft was a Christian businessman with special knowledge of overseas markets, and that Dazey had relationships with international financial institutions, prosecutors said.
Investor money was not deposited overseas but used to make payments to Wealth-Mart employees and to buy cars, real estate and vacations, prosecutors said during the three-week trial.
Jones was considered Craft's top assistant. While working for Wealth-Mart, she was given a Cadillac and a home in Nichols Hills, as well as a live-in personal assistant.
Jones, a 10-year employee of the U.S. Postal Service before leaving her job to join Craft, apologized in court Tuesday.
"I apologize to any victims that I know or don't know, she said. "I want to do what's right with the rest of my life.
U.S. District Judge David Russell said he had to sentence her to prison based on the severity of the crime.
"I've been a judge for 20 years, and this is one of the most outrageous crimes I've ever seen, he said. "The world has got to know that this kind of conduct is unacceptable.Archive ID: 1327934