Woman Gets 9 Years for Running Hard Money Lender Scheme

Allison Tussey —  July 10, 2014 — Leave a comment

Barbra Alexander, 66, Monterey, California, was sentenced to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $6,306,770.96 in restitution following a trial in which she was convicted for her role in an investment fraud.

Alexander was convicted by a jury after a three week trial, on Feb. 26, 2014. She was found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud as charged in the Indictment.

During the trial, evidence showed that Alexander recruited investors into her company, APS Funding, Inc. Alexander promised to invest their money in short-term, high-interest loans, also known as hard money lending, for business and real estate development purposes. Instead of investing their money as promised, Alexander used investors’ money to fund her pet projects, such as her syndicated radio show, Moneydots, and to line her own pockets, including paying for her home remodel.

In total, during the course of the fraud between 2006 and 2009, Alexander received over $7 million from investors.

Alexander along with her two partners at APS Funding, Inc., Michael Swanson, 62, Seaside, California, and Beth Pina, 47, Fairfield, Idaho, were indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 7, 2010. Swanson was convicted after a three week trial on Sept. 3, 2010, for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud by a jury. On May 14, 2014, Swanson was sentenced to 37 months imprisonment, $2,838,100.36 in restitution, a $2,800 Special Assessment, and 3 years of supervised release. Swanson surrendered for service of his sentence on June 27, 2014. Pina pleaded guilty on Dec. 17, 2012 to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. On May 14, 2014, Pina was sentenced to 3 years of Probation, including 12 months of electronic monitoring, and 200 hours of community service. Pina was also ordered to pay a $100 Special Assessment, and restitution in the amount of $625,287.40.

These sentences were handed down by the Honorable Lucy H. Koh, United States District Court Judge, in San Jose. Alexander will begin serving her sentence on August 22, 2014.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag and FBI Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson.

Jeff Schenk, Amber Rosen, and Dan Kaleba are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted these cases with the assistance of Nina Burney. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.

Allison Tussey

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