- Associated Press - Friday, January 3, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Three men who ran an $11 million investment scheme that bilked elderly Californians are going to prison.

James Litzinger, Gregory Chapman and Wallace Thomas were sentenced to state prison sentences ranging from three to 30 years, the California attorney general’s office announced Friday.

A fourth man, Rogel Patawaran, died while awaiting sentencing, authorities said.

Prosecutors said the men ran a company called Authotecq that over nine years sold more than $11 million in unregistered securities, mainly to elderly investors. The company claimed to be developing an internet banking system.

“However, the defendants did little to develop a product and instead lined their own pockets with millions of dollars in investors’ money. Investors never received any returns on their investments,” according to a statement from the attorney general’s office.

They spent money on “”fine dining, multiple cars, rent, and cigars,” prosecutors said.

Litzinger was sentenced Thursday to eight years in prison. Chapman, who was convicted of grand theft and securities fraud, was earlier sentenced to 30 years. Thomas, who pleaded guilty before trial, was sentenced last month to three years, prosecutors said.

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