A Glendale man pleaded guilty on Thursday to running three separate scams, including a Ponzi scheme that defrauded 30 families out of more than $8 million.
In the plea deal, Kaveh Vahedi, 51, admitted to convincing more than 30 investors to hand over approximately $12 million to invest on their behalf. According to prosecutors, he used his investment company, KGV Investments, to give clients the impression he made hundreds of millions of dollars brokering international bond deals.
Investors ended up losing more than $8 million.
During the hearing on Thursday, one of the Ponzi victims, Glendale resident Fred Shokouvi, told the court Vahedi bilked him out of $449,000.
“I trusted him,” Shokouvi said.
He went on to tell the judge that his home has been foreclosed, and admitted that he has contemplated taking his own life.
“Why does somebody have to have this much greed?” Shokouvi said, at times breaking into tears. “I have a 7-year-old and I am alone.”
Vahedi sat silently during the hearing.
As part of the plea deal, Vahedi acknowledged his involvement in a mortgage fraud scam where at least 250 falsified loan applications were submitted through his brokerage firm, Countywide Financial — not to be confused with Calabasas-based Countrywide Home Loans, which was ordered in 2010 to pay $108 million for overcharging struggling homeowners and mishandling loans of borrowers in bankruptcy.
In addition, Vahedi admitted stealing more than $700,000 from his parents by cleaning out their bank account and taking out a loan on their home.
He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud for the Ponzi scheme and one count of conspiracy in connection with a mortgage fraud scam. The plea deal was reached and filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Vahedi’s father, mother and other family members were in the courtroom as he entered his guilty plea, but they declined to comment.
“This is a very difficult time for them” said Vahedi’s attorney, Gilbert R. Geilim-Morales.
Vahedi also agreed to plead guilty to one count of bank fraud in relation to a previously filed criminal case related to the fraud against his parents.
Vahedi, who has been in federal custody since May, faces a maximum sentence of 55 years in federal prison.
-- Mark Kellam, Times Community News
Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam