Convicted scam artist who targeted BR residents ordered to pay back $6.8 million to victims
BATON ROUGE - A Florida man who spent years conning people using his phony business has been ordered to pay nearly $7 million in restitution to his victims.
The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that 60-year-old Wallace Byers of Miami was sentenced to 121 months in federal prison, in addition to the $6.88 million in restitution, after his conviction on wire fraud charges.
Between Oct 2014 and Nov. 2018, Byers solicited victims in Baton Rouge, among other places, to invest in his company WBI Associates Inc.. Byers primarily targeted elderly victims and promised their money would be invested in things like gold production, a lottery company, foreign currency, or “dark pools," according to the DOJ news release.
An investigation found Byers was actually using it for personal expenses, spending roughly $10,000 per month in rent for his residence in a Miami hotel, the lease of luxury cars and gambling in casinos. Whenever victims would ask for refunds, Byers allegedly made up any number of excuses as to why it was the funds were tied up.
Byers admitted that he received between $3,500,001 and $9,500,000 as a result of his scheme, $3,000,000 of which he sent to a Swiss bank account he controlled. Byers also admitted that he had two prior federal felony convictions, one of which was for a similar wire fraud scheme.
Federal agents seized $260,000 in cash from a number of bank accounts owned by Byers. The cash and valuables found in those accounts will also be made available for distribution to his victims.