(GAINESVILLE)- A Cleveland man has been sentenced to federal prison on charges that he defrauded 18 individuals of more than $1 million after he persuaded them to invest their retirement savings in tracts of timber land.
According to a news release from United States Attorney ‘BJay” Pak, 67-year old Elmer Swain Stewart, of Cleveland, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Story to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $218,000. Stewart pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on December 8th , 2017.
According to the release said that he would use his investors’ money as earnest money or down payments on timber bids, instead, used the investors’ money to pay for a lavish lifestyle for himself that he could not otherwise afford.
Stewart lived on a horse farm valued at $1.5 million that he falsely claimed he owned. He also used the money for trips to Alaska, Hawaii, and other places.
Pak in the release said, “Stewart’s victims trusted him with much of their retirement savings and gave him thousands of dollars to invest, in return, this greedy defendant stole from his investors and used their money to fund his lavish lifestyle.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.