Florida man pleads guilty in WVa to investment scheme

June 29, 2021 GMT

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A Florida man has admitted to bilking more than a dozen people out of nearly $5 million in an investment scheme.

Phillip W. Conley, of Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud in federal court in Clarksburg, West Virginia, acting U.S. Attorney Randolph J. Bernard said Tuesday.

Conley, 38, admitted to scheming 18 people from 2014 to 2019. The victims were from several states, including West Virginia.

Prosecutors said Conley mailed victims false statements that claimed a positive rate of return for their investments, even though he invested little or none of the money. Instead, he spent much of it on private jet flights, expensive meals, clothes, jewelry, housing and living expenses for himself. Only about $210,000 was returned to the victims.

Conley faces up to 20 years in prison and a $5 million fine. He agreed to forfeit property purchased from the proceeds of the crimes.