Prison for man who stole $8 million from investors in Liberia scamby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — An Eden Prairie man has been sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison for defrauding investors by falsely claiming to be a former government official with ties to a lucrative business venture in Liberia.
John Jefferson, 55, was convicted in July of wire fraud, money laundering and failure to file tax returns. He was sentenced Tuesday.
According to court documents, Jefferson funneled more than $8 million from investors to his personal bank accounts while claiming the money would fund a project to extract natural resources from the African nation.
He used the money to support a "lavish lifestyle," including luxury cars, overseas vacation trips and several townhomes for family members, according to the indictment.
Jefferson persuaded an "unwitting person," a business associate, to solicit investments from that person's professional and personal contacts.
Investors then sent money via wire transfers from their bank accounts into the account of Jefferson's associate. The associate then gave the money to Jefferson.