A lawyer struck off the bar convicted of fraud and tax evasion
Former Stevensville lawyer Ronald Dean Lords, who admitted last July to defrauding investors and evading income tax under a real estate investment program in which he lost more million dollars in the futures market, was sentenced this month to three years in prison, followed by three years on probation.
“Lords used his lawyer-client relationship to access victims’ money, then abused their trust to gamble their money on the futures market. Lords also attempted to cheat his income taxes by failing to report investor money as income. The US Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to arrest and convict white collar criminals, hold them accountable and seek justice for the victims, ”Acting US Attorney Leif said Mr Johnson in a press release.
The case was investigated by the FBI and IRS criminal investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Racicot.
The government alleged that Lords was a lawyer, who operated Eagles Landing Legal Services, PC, as well as a licensed real estate agent and general contractor, who operated Eagles Landing Construction, Inc. The construction company claimed to develop real estate and build houses. From June 2011 to September 2018, in Ravalli County, Lords defrauded several victims by convincing them to invest money in his construction business.
The lords told them that he would make monthly interest payments, use the money to build houses, and pay back the money after the houses were sold. Lords said he would return victims’ money within 30 days of any request. Instead of using the money to finance construction projects as promised, Lords used some of the new money to make interest payments to previous investors and lost the majority of the funds in the futures market. When some victims demanded repayment of their principal, Lords admitted that he had lost over a million dollars in the futures market and did not have their money.
The government also alleged that Lords failed to report $ 432,608 he received from several victims in 2015 as “other income” on his taxes, resulting in unpaid taxes of $ 152,734 for that year- the.
Originally charged with 19 counts – six for wire fraud, nine for money laundering and four for filing false income tax returns – Lords faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $ 250,000 and three years supervised release for electronic fraud; 10 years in prison, $ 250,000 fine and three years supervised release for money laundering and three years in prison, $ 100,000 fine and one year supervised release for misrepresenting income.
At the sentencing hearing on November 10, however, U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy dismissed all but three counts and sentenced the Lords to only one count each for fraud, money laundering and the filing of false income tax returns. He was sentenced to three years on each count, the sentences being concurrent.
According to an article in the Billings Gazette, during the sentencing hearing, Lords apologized to the court for his actions and his lawyer noted that he had made significant progress in repaying a handful of victims. He also mentions that the victim impact statements were made by two of the 14 people from whom Lords took money. Stan Hendrickson is said to have said: “I truly believe that man has no moral conscience and should be condemned accordingly.” Lords was struck off the bar from practicing law in Montana. He is ordered not to engage in any gambling or betting activity upon his release from prison. He is also prohibited from entering casinos.