An Oakland man was ordered to pay $3.37 million in restitution and was sentenced to 121 months in prison on Monday for a charity fraud scheme, federal prosecutors said. Keith Aaron Vann, 42, received the sentence for the role he played in a scam in which three Arizona residents were convinced to donate large sums of money to a phony charitable organization, according to the office of U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.
Following a four-day trail in December, a jury found Vann guilty of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and three counts of money laundering, Haag said. The donors were led to believe that the phony charity, Global Missions, was a nonprofit organization that provided humanitarian aid worldwide, according to prosecutors.
Posing as an attorney named James Preston, Vann misled victims into believing that the organization was recognized by the IRS and that their donations would be tax deductible, prosecutors said. The money collected was spent by Vann and others on a $1.25 million home, a down payment on a luxury car, jewelry and personal trips, according to Haag’s office. Two of the victims were elementary school teachers, and the money they donated was from their father’s estate, prosecutors said.
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