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Mail and Tax Fraud Schemes Earn Buena Park Man 8-Year Sentence

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Buena Park man whose fraudulent investment schemes took in nearly $7 million from investors has been sentenced to eight years in federal prison.

James A. Boone, 41, had pleaded guilty in May to three counts of mail fraud and one of tax fraud. He faced a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison and a $1-million fine.

Between 1984 and 1987, prosecutors said, Boone operated six Orange County “boiler rooms” where employees used telephones to sell phony investments in precious metals. The principal operation was called World Equity Mint.

U.S. District Judge Gary L. Taylor sentenced Boone on Monday to the prison term and five years’ probation, and ordered him to pay $500,000 in restitution.

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Prosecutors said Boone used about $80,000 of investors’ money to place gambling bets with his bookie, mostly on football games. More cash went to renovate his house, and as an investment in a boat company.

Boone promised hundreds of investors he would buy coins and bullion and hold them until the investors wanted to sell. But, prosecutors said, he didn’t buy the precious metals and instead diverted much of the money to his own use, creating a false trail of sham investments with coin and metals dealers to reassure investors. Investors got back less than $1 million of the $7 million they sank into the precious metals scam, said Asst. U.S. Atty. Paul L. Seave, who helped prosecute Boone.

Boone was indicted by a federal grand jury in March on 52 counts of mail fraud and two counts of filing false income tax returns.

The indictments followed an investigation by federal postal investigators, IRS agents and investigators for the Orange County district attorney’s office and the state Department of Justice.

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