Man Who Stole Over $26 Million from Investors Sentenced to More Than Six Years in Federal Prison
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 15, 2011|
LAS VEGAS—A former Lake Las Vegas resident who convinced persons in the United States and Japan to invest over $26 million in mining projects in South America, Nevada, and California and a real estate project in Arizona was sentenced today to six-and-a-half years in federal prison and ordered to pay $23.5 million in restitution to the victims, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for Nevada.
Alberto DoCouto, 68, a former resident of Lake Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan. DoCouto pleaded guilty in June 2010 to securities fraud.
“The defendant willfully and knowingly made false promises and representations regarding mining and real estate projects and induced persons to provide him with money which he used for his personal enrichment,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden. The sentencing judge found today that Mr. DoCouto was delusional and not generally remorseful.
From about 2001 to 2007, DoCouto created numerous limited liability companies and corporations, and told investors that he and his companies were engaged in exploring and developing a series of lucrative mining claims in Peru, Guyana, California, and Nevada. DoCouto told investors that the mines held valuable precious metals such as gold and diamonds worth billions of dollars, and persuaded them to invest millions of dollars in the alleged projects in exchange for shares of stock, promissory notes and investment contracts in the companies. DoCouto repeatedly represented to the investors that their monies were needed to bring the projects to fruition. In fact, DoCouto’s companies and projects were a façade; the shares of stock that the investors thought they owned in DoCouto’s companies were worthless; and none of the mining projects were developed. DoCouto instead diverted and converted the investors’ funds for his own personal enrichment, including for the purchase of an opulent 6,000 square foot home at Lake Las Vegas and several luxury automobiles, all of which were seized and forfeited by authorities. After the purported mining projects failed, DoCouto solicited funds from investors in Canada, Kuwait, and elsewhere for a real estate development project in Arizona. DoCouto obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors to run water to the property and to develop the project, but again, he converted much of the money for his own personal purposes, including to pay the mortgage on his home, to pay for lavish home improvements, to make payments to a riding stable, and for various cash expenditures.
The case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the United States Bureau of Land Management, and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Timothy S. Vasquez and Nicholas Dickinson.