A Hoschton man has been sentenced for his part in a stock market scheme that targeted foreign investors.
Patrick J. Soltis, 47, of Hoschton, and John A. Reece, 57, of St. Augustine, Fla., were sentenced on April 7 by United States District Judge Clarence Cooper.
Both men will serve time in federal prison for operating a telemarketing scheme in Marietta that defrauded dozens of foreign individuals by convincing then to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent companies.
In 2002, Soltis and Reece convinced several victims to invest in a shell company, Wolf and Soltis Holdings, LLC. Using telemarketers, the defendants falsely claimed that their company had substantial business operations and planned to expand in a number of areas. In fact, the company was bogus, had no operations, assets, revenues or employees - other than the hired telemarketers.
The scheme involved several false claims. The defendants claimed that they owned a private bottled water company, were involved with the University of Minnesota to develop a tree species that grew more quickly and owned a cosmetics company for which entertainment personality Raquel Welch was the spokesperson.
The defendants used high pressure telemarketers to call hundreds of potential victims each day. The call lists specifically targeted foreign investors in English speaking countries. The overwhelming majority of the victims live in foreign countries, primarily Australia and Canada. The defendants’ schemes resulted in a loss of over $600,000 to the victims.
The defendants pocketed the lion’s share of the money they received from investors and used the rest to pay their telemarketers, telephone bills and related expenses.
“These defendants ran an investment boiler room operation using telemarketers to pressure their unsuspecting victims into investing thousands of dollars in a variety of phony ventures,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. “The defendants have now been sentenced to federal prison and ordered to pay restitution to their innocent victims.”
Reece was sentenced to six years and six months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $582,639.
Soltis received a reduced sentence as a result of his cooperation with the investigation. He was sentenced to three years, five months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. Soltis was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $301,601.
The case was investigated by Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.