A Novato man was sentenced in federal court in Los Angeles Tuesday to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $1.2 million in restitution for defrauding people who bought website domains from him. John Winston Boone, 51, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Otis Wright. Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of Los Angeles said that during the sentencing, Wright called Boone’s conduct “cruel and callous” and said he “showed a lack of humanity that was so base and so depraved.”
Boone pleaded guilty in November 2013 to two counts of wire fraud. Yonekura said Boone had 18 victims, who were residents of the United States and Canada who wanted to own online businesses that would enable them to work from home. In a written plea agreement filed in court in 2013, Boone admitted that he defrauded the investors by falsely claiming the website domains he sold them would generate substantial revenue.
Boone admitted he gave some of the victims false financial records, including, in some cases, fabricated PayPal records that purported to show income generated by the websites in the past. The websites never generated any income, with one small exception, Yonekura said. Boone admitted in the written agreement that when the victims discovered the scheme and demanded their money back, he ceased all communications with them and never returned any of the money.
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