High-Yield Prime Bank Scheme Case Ends with Reduced Sentencing Requirements

Francis Wilde and Mark Gelazela were both accused of federal wire fraud charges for apparent participation in what was called a high-yield prime bank scheme. The prosecution argued that the men worked to steal money from investors in a total sum amount greater than $5 million. Although both men were convicted of the federal fraud crimes, the defense for Wilde did manage a significant success.

Ferrentino & Associates, led by Orange County criminal defense Attorney Cori Ferrentino, represented Wilde. The federal government was adamant about sentencing Wilde to nothing less than 97 months in prison. Due to the efforts and sharp legal understanding of his defense, Wild received a reduced sentencing of only 51 months.

The prosecution built the case that both men took dramatic steps to “lure” investors out of money, which would either be placed into unreliable and incredibly risky investments, or used to pay out other investors who demanded their money back. The case was also made that Gelazela falsely claimed to be an “international finance guru” when he did not have any formal financial training or educations. Lastly, the prosecution said the men tried to coerce people out of working with investigators once suspicions of fraudulent activity began.

When considering the stack of accusations and the might of the opposition – the case was handled directly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation group – the outcome could have been devastating for both men. The guilty plea deal negotiated by Ferrentino & Associates for 46 months less than originally demanded by the government is remarkable. This represents nearly a 50% reduction in incarceration.

For more information about this case, you can click here to view a full article posted to the United States Attorney’s Office Central District of California website. If you require an Orange County federal crimes defense lawyer for a case of your own, contact Ferrentino & Associates at your first opportunity. The firm defends all sorts of criminal cases, from white collar crimes to felonies to violent crimes.


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