Loan fraud in Utah brings prison sentence
A federal judge has sentenced a Colorado man to 27 months in prison and ruled he is liable for nearly $860,000 in restitution for participating in a scam in which he and a Park City resident promised investors 15 percent interest from a short-term loan that didn't exist.
U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball said Victor John Sifton of Vail, Colo., is to report on Jan. 23 to start serving his prison term.
Sifton, formerly of Collinwood, Ontario, was convicted by a jury in August of five counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting in a crime. He was found guilty of participating in the fraudulent scheme with Park City resident Jason Howard Lawson, who pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and was sentenced in 2009 to 18 months in prison.
According to court documents, Lawson solicited investors to fund what he said was a short-term hard cash loan that would pay 15 percent interest. But the loan never existed, and he forged documents to make it appear there were actual borrowers.
Sifton helped Lawson by offering his mother's condo in Colorado as collateral, even though he had no ownership interest in it, court records show. Sifton also allowed the use of his bank accounts to move money, lied to investors, helped forge records and tried to get Lawson to destroy evidence, records show.
Sifton and Lawson were both made responsible for restitution.