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Scams land Glendale man in prison

Resident's three financial schemes included bank fraud involving his own parents.

December 06, 2013|By Veronica Rocha, veronica.rocha@latimes.com

A 52-year-old Glendale man was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison and ordered to repay nearly $9.8 million to families, some of whom lost their life savings when they unwittingly participated in his three separate scams, including a Ponzi scheme.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson described Kaveh Vahedi's Ponzi scam as “one of the most heartbreaking, vicious fraud schemes” that he has ever seen.

Before Vahedi's sentencing, Pregerson said he read letters from victims, who as a result of Vahedi's scams suffered failed marriages, panic attacks, anxiety, thoughts of suicide and struggles with feeding their families.

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Some of his victims were seniors, cancer patients and another was a disabled law-enforcement officer.

Speaking before Pregerson, Glendale resident Fred Shokouvi, who lost $449,000 in Vahedi's scam, was overcome with emotion as he pulled out a small packet of instant soup and explained that it was the only thing he and his 8-year-old son could afford to eat.

“What is going to happen to my son's future?” he asked. “I cannot accept that a human can do this to another human.”

Shokouvi was one of nine victims who described their struggles in court about their dealings with Vahedi.

In November 2012, Vahedi pleaded guilty to persuading more than 30 stakeholders to entrust approximately $12 million to his investment company, KGV Investments, to finance on their behalf. Investors eventually lost more than $8 million.

Vahedi agreed to plead guilty to one count of wire fraud for the Ponzi scheme and one count of conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud scam.

He acknowledged his involvement in the mortgage fraud scam where at least 250 falsified loan applications were submitted through his brokerage firm, Countywide Financial — not to be confused with Calabasas-based Countrywide Home Loans, which was ordered in 2010 to pay $108 million for overcharging struggling homeowners and mishandling loans of borrowers in bankruptcy.

Vahedi reportedly confessed about some of his scams before an indictment had even been drafted, Assistant U.S. Attorney James Bowman said.

Vahedi's actions, he said, had a ripple effect on the community with a “devastating impact.”

“One of the tragedies of this case… at the time we got involved, the money was gone,” Bowman said.

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