GRAPEVINE, Texas — Note: The video above was uploaded in 2016.
Four executives from a Grapevine-based real estate investment firm have been sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison, says U.S. Attorney Chad Meacham.
According to the attorney for the Northern District of Texas, a federal jury convicted executives from the United Development Funding firm (UDF).
The four of them were found guilty in January for 10 counts, including securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution. They were all sentenced to prison on Friday.
The U.S. Department of Justice identified the defendants as Hollis Greenlaw (UDF CEO), Benjamin Wissink (Partnership President), Cara Obert (CFO) and Jeffrey Jester (Asset Management Director).
Greenlaw was sentenced to seven years in prison, Wissink and Obert to five years each, and Jester to three years. Greenlaw, Wissink and Obert were also ordered by a judge to pay fines of $50,000 each.
In 2016, the United Development Fund was raided by the FBI after allegations by a Dallas hedge fund manager. According to the Dallas Business Journal, the firm was accused of running a billion-dollar "Ponzi-like scheme."
At the time, Greenlaw denied that anything wrong was going on. He claimed the hedge fund manager Kyle Bass was spreading false information.
According to the USDOJ, the defendants moved money between their five funds - UDF I, II, II, IV and V - when one of the funds didn't get their loan back from a developer.
The U.S. Attorney said the SEC and the investors were not made aware of those transfers.
"According to evidence presented at trial, the defendants orchestrated a scheme to mislead investors and the SEC about their funds’ performance," said Meacham.