OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Four people have been found guilty of fraud charges in a $14 million scheme in which people were told their money was being invested overseas and in international companies.
The five-year scam was carried out through an Oklahoma City company called Wealth-Mart.
Investors' money was used to make payments to Wealth-Mart employees, buy cars, take more than 50 people on a Caribbean cruise and buy an Edmond home for nearly $400,000, prosecutors said.
The defendants were indicted in May on federal charges of securities fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
Robert Gerald Craft of Jones, Diane Lenore Griffith of Anadarko, Roy Mathew of Edmond and Dennis Dean Dazey of Tulsa were convicted Friday, while a fifth person, Denise Ruth Jones of Oklahoma City reached a plea agreement with prosecutors before trial.
All five could face up to five years in prison with Craft, Griffith, Mathew and Dazey facing the possibility of several other sentences for additional charges, said U.S. Attorney Robert McCampbell.
Craft was found guilty of 59 separate counts, Griffith on 14, Dazey and Mathew on three counts.
All five defendants had been free on bail, but U.S. District Judge David Russell denied bail for Craft and Dazey, saying he believed they were flight risks. Russell allowed Griffith and Mathew to remain free on bail.
Beginning in 1997, dozens of investors were told Craft was a Christian businessman who had special knowledge of overseas investments and that he and Dazey had relationships with international financial institutions, the indictment stated.