Home > International, Local News > Guyanese man sentenced to 7 years in fraud scheme

Guyanese man sentenced to 7 years in fraud scheme


FARGO, North Dakota USA (AP) — A Guyanese man who refused to participate in his own defense was sentenced Wednesday to more than seven years in prison for bilking investors from North Dakota and elsewhere out of millions of dollars.

Neville Solomon, 67, was convicted in federal court earlier this year on three counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Authorities say he wooed investors into bank programs by promising high rates of return with no risk.

U.S. District Judge Ralph Erickson told Solomon he was involved in the “worst kind of white collar crime” and sentenced him to 86 months in prison. Solomon boasted that he recruited the people he needed from North Dakota in three days, the judge said.

“Mr. Solomon was taking advantage of desperate people,” Erickson said.

Solomon repeated a statement he used throughout the case that he does not argue the facts and “is repent of all my sins, debts, obligations and dishonor.” He cited arguments from commercial law that have “no application in a criminal proceeding,” Erickson said.

Defense attorney Johnathan Judd told Erickson that Solomon refused to provide basic information or help with the case. Judd said the only personal information he received was from Solomon’s daughter in Georgia, who was contacted last month when Solomon had heart bypass surgery in Grand Forks.

“I do not know a lot about my client,” Judd said.

Judd said Solomon did not want him to argue at sentencing, but the lawyer did so after a request from Erickson. Judd asked for a sentence of 37 months, pointing out his client’s poor health and clean criminal record.

The government asked for a sentence of 10 years. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett Shasky said one of Solomon’s victims suffered a stroke after being forced to declare bankruptcy and several people lost homes and retirement money.

“It was a scheme he knew to be fraudulent,” Shasky said. “I don’t think that he personally has any respect for the law.”

Erickson ordered Solomon to pay more than $2 million in restitution, but acknowledged that hundreds of thousands of dollars involved in the scheme was sent offshore and hasn’t been found.

Solomon was arrested last summer in Trinidad after eluding authorities for about 18 months.

Solomon’s partner, Minot commodities broker Frederick Keiser Jr., was convicted in March 2007 on 22 counts and sentenced to 12 years in prison. Prosecutors argued that Solomon’s role in the scheme was bigger than Keiser’s.

“I don’t think we need to answer who was at the top of this pyramid,” Erickson said.

Categories: International, Local News
  1. Bibi
    June 25, 2010 at 2:35 am

    To all reading this KNOW that it is not relection of
    ALL Guyanese. soem are rotten yes but most are good

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