This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A federal judge in Utah sentenced an Atlanta resident to prison on Friday for fraud and money laundering in connection with a real estate project in Vernal.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball sentenced Martin A. Pool, 44, to 6½ years in federal prison after his guilty plea to fraud and money laundering charges. He was ordered to pay $8 million in restitution to the victims.
Pool and co-defendant Armand R. Franquelin, 57, Liberty, Utah, pleaded guilty in May to the fraud that involved a real estate project in Vernal.
The two admitted they had persuaded investors to convert traditional Individual Retirement Accounts into self-directed accounts and invest in the Haven Estates project with promised returns of 8 percent to 20 percent.
In pleading guilty, the pair admitted they had used investor monies for personal expenses and to make payments to other investors in what is known as a Ponzi scheme. The project was foreclosed on after they failed to make loan payments.
Sentencing for Franquelin is set for Sept. 22. He also agreed to the $8 million restitution.
Typically fraud victims get very little if any money returned to them.