LOS ANGELES – A former Coachella Valley resident has been sentenced to 60 months in federal prison for soliciting investments in his money-losing day-trading operation that cost victims millions of dollars in losses.
Robert Charles Butler, 50, was sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. Butler currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, but was residing in La Quinta when he ran the investment scam.
Butler solicited victims by falsely claiming to be a successful day trader with a proprietary trading program who had created private investment funds. Even though he had actually lost millions of dollars trading stocks, Butler told victims to expect up to a 10 percent return on their investments. After taking at least $7 million from victims and continuing to suffer substantial losses as a result of his trading, Butler produced fake account statements claiming substantial profits and sent them to victims. In addition to the trading losses, Butler used some of the victims' money to pay personal expenses, including gambling losses.
When he pleaded guilty, Butler specifically admitted that he caused more than $2.5 million in losses. The exact loss figure will be determined by Judge Phillips during a restitution hearing scheduled for March 27.
Butler defrauded at least one family member and friends of the relative who lived in Indio. Many of the investors withdrew funds from their retirement accounts after meetings at Butler's lavish home office containing seven to eight computer screens showing stock activity.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sean D. Peterson of the Riverside Branch Office.
USAO – California, CentralUpdated March 17, 2017
Central District of California DOJ / 17-058 / March 17, 2017