- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 10, 2020

ST. LOUIS (AP) - An Indiana payroll company owner was sentenced Tuesday to six years in federal prison and ordered to pay back nearly $9 million for a scheme that defrauded clients.

David L. Downey, 51, of Indianapolis, pleaded guilty in August to wire fraud, federal employment tax evasion and passport fraud. He was sentenced in U.S. District Court in St. Louis. Clients from Missouri, Indiana and Kentucky were victims of his scheme.

Federal prosecutors said Downey stole money from clients of his company, Time Payroll, from 2013 to 2017. He was arrested in 2018 with fake identification and nearly $1 million in cash at a California hotel, where he used his brother’s name to try and get a passport, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Downey has already repaid some of the $9.4 million taken from clients but still owes them $8.8 million.

Federal prosecutors said Downey used his clients’ money to fund travel to exotic destinations such as St. Bart’s.

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