Houston man pleads guilty in Utah fraud case
A Houston man has pleaded guilty in Utah for his role in a $72 million investment fraud scheme.
Robert Andres, 62, owner of Winsome Investment Trust, pleaded guilty in federal court in Salt Lake City to one count of wire fraud. He faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 when he is sentenced, scheduled for Jan. 7.
Andres made false statements to investors from whom he raised tens of millions of dollars from 2005 until at least January 2011, according to the charges filed in December 2011. He failed to disclose that new investors' funds would be used to pay existing investors in order to make Winsome appear profitable, according to court documents.
Andres also misappropriated about $2.2 million in investor funds for personal use, including for hotel bills and living expenses, documents say.
Andres also poured about $25 million into a commodities trading venture run by Robert L. Holloway, a former Utah resident.
Holloway, who ran U.S. Ventures LC, lost millions of dollars in trades and also used investor funds for Ponzi payments as well as for personal expenses, according to charges filed against him in December of 2011.
Holloway faces trial in October on fraud and tax charges.