15-year sentence in phony $58 million fuel trading scheme

January 4, 2022 GMT

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — A man who pleaded guilty in Louisiana last year in an estimated $58 million investment fraud scheme was formally sentenced Tuesday sentenced to 15 years in prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Shreveport said.

David DeBerardinis, 60, had pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in August.

Prosecutors said DeBerardinis claimed to be part of a complex fuel industry trading operation that dealt with a major energy company. But he was not really making the fuel trades he claimed as he duped investors, including a Texas financial institution that provided $29.5 million.

A presentence investigation determined that victims of the DeBerardinis scheme lost a total of more than $58 million. U.S. Attorney Brandon Brown’s news release said a hearing has been set for March 28 to determine the exact amount or restitution DeBerardinis will have to make.

“As was evident in today’s sentencing hearing, this defendant spent many years conning not only business associates, but also friends who trusted him, out of millions of dollars and destroying many of their lives while doing so,” Brown said in a prepared statement.