A Bay Area real estate investor is going to federal prison for five years after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
James Stanley Ward, 65, originally faced 18 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud with regard to his Mountain View-based company Jim Ward & Associates, Inc., and its successor business, JSW Financial, Inc. Prosecutors charged that Ward had ripped off investors, forcing many into financial ruin, by taking their money with full knowledge that his business was suffering losses, and providing them with phony financial statements that indicated the business was healthy (real estate investment fraud).
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought separate civil charges against Ward and his three co-defendants: Richard F. Tipton, 62, of Palo Alto, Edward George Locker, 36, of Highland Heights, Ohio, and David Lin of Los Altos, were accused of shoring up their money-losing real estate development projects and hiding $17 million losses by continuing to solicit money from the victims.
Investors had been solicited with promises their funds would go to making loans that were secured by residential real estate. Instead, the four men funneled much of the investment monies to business they controlled, using some of it to buy themselves homes.
Read the original article in Palo Alto Online, including the heart-breaking stories by the victims recounting their losses.