General Crime

* David Prince Saratoga lawyer convicted of wire fraud defrauded investors of $1.1 million

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A Saratoga lawyer who ran two investment funds was convicted of wire fraud in federal court in San Francisco today in connection with a scheme to defraud investors of $1.1 million. David Prince, 49, who lives in Saratoga and has a law office in Los Gatos, was found guilty of five counts of wire fraud by a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer after a three-week trial.He is due to be sentenced by Breyer on Jan. 11.

The wire fraud convictions each carry a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but the actual sentence will be determined after consideration of federal sentencing guidelines. U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag said evidence at the trial showed that Prince defrauded more than 30 investors of $1.1 million between August 2005 and January 2007.

The two funds he ran were MJE Invest! and the Leopard Fund. Haag said Prince falsely promised returns as high as five to 25 percent, falsely stated the money would be invested in the stock market and used his status as a lawyer to reassure investors about the legality of the two funds. Prince lost most of the investors’ money through risky options trading, Haag said.

He also spent more than $200,000 on personal items including the leasing of a Mercedes Benz automobile, prosecutors said. Some investors received some payments with money obtained from newer investors, prosecutors said.Defense attorney Daniel Barton was not available for comment
today.

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