La Crescenta man gets 9 years in federal prison for running fraud scams

A federal court sentenced a La Crescenta man to nine years in prison Monday for running a pair of fraudulent schemes that bilked victims out of over $1 million.

The sentence comes after 55-year-old David William Bell pleaded guilty last summer to one count each of wire fraud and mail fraud. Bell admitted he started a company called UST Development Inc. to run the fraud schemes.


Bell ran the company out of Ontario and Pomona. Authorities said he used multiple company names besides UST while running the schemes.

According to the U.S. attorney's office, the first scheme occurred from 2008 to 2010 and involved Bell eliciting the services from several third-party payroll companies to fund UST's payroll. Bell would then fail to reimburse the third-party companies.

Oftentimes, a check from accounts with insufficient funds would be sent to pay for services. Authorities said Paychex and Ceridian were just two of the companies that were targeted.

The second scheme involved Bell and UST sending out mailers that were made to look like bills using terms such as invoice, statement and past due.

The U.S. attorney's office said the fake bills asked for $175 or $350 for services rendered by UST and were sent to "thousands of small businesses and other entities, most of which were located across Southern California."

However, no services were ever provided and no money was owed.

In addition to the prison sentence, Bell will also pay over $1 million in restitution to the victims he defrauded.

Twitter: @Andy_Truc