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Head of Ponzi scheme that hit Coachella Valley sentenced to 6.5 years in prison

September 24th, 2013 | by Barrett Newkirk | Comments

Here’s an update on my story from August about the Ponzi scheme that ensnared some wealthy Coachella Valley investors:

Yusaf Jawed, the head of Grifphon hedge funds, was sentenced in Oregon on Monday to 6.5 years in prison for bilking investors of more than $6 million with a different investment offer.

“I’d like to unconditionally apologize,” Jawed told the judge, according to OregonLive.

Back in April, Jawed pleaded guilty to 17 counts of mail and wire fraud. Earlier this month, he agreed to pay almost $34 million to settle a separate civil case with the Securities and Exchange Commission involving Grifphon, although it appears Jawed has no way to pay off the judgement.

In a sentencing memorandum filed last week, U.S. attorneys said Jawed defrauded investors out of $6.4 million from February 2008 through 2009 with a hedge fund called Alpha Qualified Fund.

Jawed sold his Grifphon funds to wealthy valley residents with the help of Ben Daniels, a former broker and son of recently departed Desert Hot Springs City Manager Rick Daniels. Through Ben Daniels, approximately 20 investors — including his family — invested about $4.3 million with Grifphon, according the SEC.

Ben Daniels was sanctioned by the SEC but never charged with any criminal wrongdoing. More than 50 investors with Jawed and his business partner, Lyman Bruhn, have joined in a lawsuit in Portland, Ore. with the hope of recouping some of the more than $32 million they say they entrusted with the men.

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