DENVER — An appeals court Tuesday overturned the conviction of a Bethany man who was sentenced to more than 21 years in prison for defrauding 115 investors of more than $4.5 million in a Ponzi scheme.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 that Brian William McKye's conviction cannot stand because the trial judge improperly instructed jurors on what proof was required to convict him.
McKye, 49, was sentenced last year in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City to 262 months in prison after he was convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
He ran investment businesses between 2006 and 2009, guaranteeing investors monthly returns of up to 19 percent on notes issued by some of his companies known as Global West, according to prosecutors and Tuesday's 20-page decision.
The Oklahoma Department of Securities shut down McKye's operations in 2009. The U.S. Attorney for Western Oklahoma obtained an indictment against him in 2011.
An Internal Revenue Service investigator testified that McKye used some of investors' funds for his personal and business expenses. The IRS agent also testified McKye used other investor funds in a Ponzi scheme that employed principal from newer investors to make interest payments to earlier investors.
The court-appointed receiver who liquidated McKye's businesses said victims received about 2 cents for every dollar they invested with McKye. That attorney said most of McKye's business was related to payday loan shops.