Man Sentenced to More Than 19 Years in Prison for Swindling Millions from Persons in Golf Course Scheme
RENO, NV—A man who made false statements and used phony documents to solicit millions from victims who thought they were helping him purchase a golf course in Gardnerville, Nev., was sentenced today to 19½ years in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution, announced U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden for the District of Nevada.
Scott H. Summerhays, 56, currently in custody, but formerly of the South Lake Tahoe area, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge Larry R. Hicks. Summerhays pleaded guilty in February 2014 to 14 counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering, two counts of identity theft, and one count of aggravated identity theft.
“If you are considering a financial arrangement with someone, be sure to check the veracity of any documents they provide you, as fraudulent documents are common and easy to create,” said U.S. Attorney Bogden.
According to the court records, during 2008 to 2010, Summerhays represented to potential investors that he was purchasing the Genoa Lakes Golf Club located west of Gardnerville, Nev. for $17 million and needed a short term loan to complete the deal because his own money was tied up in a trust. Summerhays also represented to the potential investors that he solicited funds for oil and gas investments in Texas and owned over $30 million in Berkshire, Las Vegas Sands and MGM stocks. Summerhays showed some of the investors a fraudulent investment account statement. Summerhays also claimed that he was in partnership with Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Aldelson, and showed potential investors a partnership agreement containing the forged signature of Adelson. In reality, Summerhays had no investment portfolio, and Adelson never heard of Summerhays or had any partnerships with him. Using this scheme, Summerhays was able to convince 11 persons to loan him money for the golf course, totaling approximately $3.6 million. None of the investors were repaid and they lost all of the money they loaned Summerhays.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Megan Rachow.
The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.