West Linn resident David Shelofsky pleaded guilty Thursday, Aug. 26, to defrauding vulnerable people out of millions of dollars by posing as a successful real estate developer, hemp seed farmer and precious metal miner, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon.
Shelofksy pleaded guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering Thursday after pleading not guilty to 15 counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering in November.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Shelofsky, a former volunteer coach with the West Linn High School football team and trainer for several Ultimate Fighters, could face up to 30 years in prison and will pay between $3.3 million and $16 million in restitution to his victims.
In a separate case in 2007, Shelofsky was sentenced to three years in prison for embezzling more than $1.5 million.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office, Shelofsky began these schemes in 2013.
"Shelofsky falsely told prospective investors and lenders that he had successful real estate development projects in Bend, Oregon, and West Linn and a successful hemp seed cultivation and distribution venture in West Linn," the office stated. "During the same time period, Shelofsky and two other individuals formed a precious metals mining operation that purportedly used a proprietary mining technique to extract precious metals from the sand tailings of other mining operations."
The mining group made minimal efforts to extract the metals while Shelofsky lied to investors about the status of the operation.
"Shelofsky made repeated and deliberate misrepresentations and false promises about the status and success of his various ventures, the purported returns investors would receive, and the existence of collateral pieces of real estate supposedly backing investments," the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "Shelofsky employed the services of others to further his schemes and establish his credibility, including a lawyer to create legal documents and an assistant to open bank accounts in the names of several limited liability corporations. Shelofsky used investor funds for personal expenses and to support his own high standard of living."
According to court documents reported on previously by Pamplin Media Group, one of Shelofksy's victims was terminally ill with cancer and another was in the process of separating from his longtime fiancee.
The court documents revealed he successfully manipulated these men by allowing them to open up to him and gaining their trust. The U.S. Attorney's Office notes Shelofksy defrauded "dozens of victims" in this case.
He will be sentenced in November.
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