Pueblo Cattle Investment Operator Sentenced to Federal Prison for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering | USAO-CO
DENVER – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Richard K. Sears, 73, of Pueblo was sentenced to serve 41 months in prison for his role in a cattle investment fraud scheme. After his term of incarceration, Sears will serve 3 years of supervised release. In addition, Sears must pay restitution of $4,969,384.35.
According to information contained in court documents, beginning in June 2008, and continuing into May 2015, Sears defrauded investors through a cattle investment program to develop a breed of cattle – Rocky Mountain Romangus – that did not then exist. For a set “entry fee,” Sears claimed he would purchase a specific number of cows for the investor’s benefit. Sears claimed he would then “leaseback” the cattle for a set period of time and be responsible for paying all costs related to the cattle. Sears further agreed to pay the investors an annual “cash return” or “leaseback payment” of 10 percent and to repurchase the cows for no less than the original purchase price at the end of the lease period.
Initially, Sears made some leaseback payments, thereby lulling investors into believing the investment was successful and operating consistent with their agreements. In 2011, Sears stopped purchasing cattle, yet continued to solicit new investors. At the same time, he misrepresented the true number of cows in his possession. By September 2013, Sears knew he was unable to meet his…