(Updates with comment from Namvar’s lawyer in fifth paragraph.)
Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Ezri Namvar, a Los Angeles businessman and real-estate developer, got a seven-year prison term for stealing $21 million from clients who deposited the funds with his firm for tax-free exchange transactions.
Namvar, 59, was sentenced today in Los Angeles federal court and ordered to pay $21 million in restitution, U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement. He was found guilty of four counts of wire fraud after a jury trial in May.
Namvar misused the money from real-estate transactions that four clients deposited with his company, Namco Financial Exchange Corp., for safekeeping until it was reinvested, according to prosecutors.
He used $21 million of the $25 million entrusted to him for unauthorized purposes including paying creditors of his investment company, Namco Capital Group Inc., according to the government.
Marc S. Harris, a lawyer for Namvar, said that he will file an appeal and that he’s optimistic that it will succeed.
“We are very disappointed with the sentence,” Harris said in a phone interview.
The case is U.S. v. Namvar, 2:10-cr-01055, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).
--Editors: Peter Blumberg, Mary Romano
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