- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - A federal appeals court upheld the fraud convictions of four people involved in the collapse of a business that caused losses to investors around the country.

The convictions were upheld on Tuesday for the three family members and a corporate lawyer who were executives of a national property management company, the Idaho Statesman reported (https://bit.ly/2x4XyNF ).

The panel upheld all but $3.4 million of the combined $277 million in restitution that the four men had been ordered to pay back to investors who lost money.

Prosecutors accused the men of being a Ponzi scheme, where money from new investors is used to pay earlier investors.

Douglas Swenson, his sons Jeremy Swenson and David Swenson and attorney Mark Ellison denied any wrongdoing. They said the 2008 downturn in the economy forced Diversified Business Services and Investments into bankruptcy.

The four men managed office buildings, shopping centers and warehouses for investors nationwide. Douglas Swenson founded the business in 1979.

“We’re pleased with the result, not only for our office but the countless victims who invested money in that company,” said Rafael Gonzales Jr., the acting U.S. attorney for Idaho. “We were confident in our case, and we’re glad to see the court affirm the convictions.”

Douglas Swenson, 69, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after the jury found him guilty of 44 counts of securities fraud and 34 counts of wire fraud. Ellison, 69, Jeremy Swenson, 44, and David Swenson, 40, were each convicted of 44 counts of securities fraud. Ellison was sentenced to five years in prison, while the younger Swensons were sentenced to three years each.

The men were convicted after a 45-day trial in 2014. They have been free while appealing their convictions.

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Information from: Idaho Statesman, https://www.idahostatesman.com


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