A San Diego man who cheated more than 300 victims out of more than $26 million was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in federal prison.
Matthew "Beau" La Madrid, who has been tracked by the 10News I-Team for three years, also was ordered to pay $23.4 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud and conspiracy to launder money.
La Madrid, 44, was ordered to forfeit the proceeds he generated from his crimes, including $7 million, his interest in five parcels of land and the assets seized as part of related Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement actions.
Prosecutors said La Madrid spent more than $786,000 of the crime proceeds to support his lavish lifestyle, which included gambling and purchasing luxury vehicles, jewelry, art, and vacations.
"When your financial guy comes up in a Lamborghini and Ferrari and drives into your work, it's probably a good time to get out," investor Randy Begin said. "Wish I would have learned that earlier."
Authorities said the money La Madrid stole paid for items like his wife's Cadillac Escalade, which has a license plate that reads "Beau's Money."
"Really, you guys, don't you have anything [expletive] better to do?" a relative of La Madrid's said outside San Diego's federal courthouse.
"The fraudulent investment schemes of Matthew La Madrid viciously preyed upon the investing public and inflicted financial hardship upon their victims," said Leslie P. DeMarco, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Office of the Internal Revenue Service.
Between 2004 and 2008, La Madrid and others illegally solicited millions of dollars from Plus Money Premium Return Funds investors, promising to invest in "covered calls" stock option trading.
Instead, a substantial part of new investor funds was used to make monthly payments to earlier investors, and more than $7 million was secretly funneled to a bank account that La Madrid controlled.
According to court filings, La Madrid was a principal in related real estate companies which were used to fraudulently obtain more than $3 million from investors by falsely promising to secure real estate investments with promissory notes and recorded deeds of trust.
Also, according to sentencing documents, La Madrid funded his Ponzi and real estate schemes by fraudulently securing mortgage loans for duping borrowers into investing almost $5 million of their loan proceeds in promissory note investments.
At least 94 fraudulent loan applications were submitted to obtain more than $34 million in loans.
Co-defendants Lance La Madrid, Eric Montiel and co-conspirators Kevin Fallis, James Hyatt, Mark Busby, Christine Busby, Richard Kassler and Moises Pacheco also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
"I don't know what's going on really," said Lance La Madrid.
"He did some of the things that were said," said John La Madrid, the father of Lance and Beau.
Many investors said 10 years and $23 million in restitution isn't enough.
"They've lost all their life savings," Begin said. "It's a life sentence; they can never ever recover."
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