A scammer is heading to prison after years of fraudulent behavior in which he stole hundreds of millions of dollars from elderly widows and other investors.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, John Keith Hoover, 64, of Irvine, CA, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton.
Despite living in California, most of Hoover’s criminal activity took place in northwest Arizona. The government alleges that the fraudster targeted elderly widows in a 15-year investment scheme to sustain an ostentatious lifestyle for his family.
John Keith Hoover initially poured investments into the El Rio Golf and Country Club and other projects he owned in the region. After the housing market collapsed, the family continued to solicit and accept investments for their own personal use.
“Hoover is the principal architect of one of the most egregious investment fraud schemes in the history of Arizona,” said Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Giaimo.
“Hoover simply defrauded hundreds of investors to finance the trappings of a lavish lifestyle complete with million-dollar homes, luxury vehicles, expensive clothes, jewelry, fancy hotel suites, expensive restaurants, premium overseas travel, and expensive home furnishings,” Giamio continued.
Taking advantage of senior citizens is a common tactic for many convicted scammers. A 2011 MetLife Mature Market Institute study determined that financial exploitation costs seniors at least $2.9 billion annually, and that number continues to grow each year.
According to the Southeast Missourian, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander recently held a community meeting at a local senior center to inform elderly residents on how to best handle swindlers.
“If somebody targets you for a scam, there’s no need to be embarrassed,” Kander said. “People who do this, this is how they make their money. It’s wrong, but this is their job. Our job is to help you protect yourself from them.”
As for John Keith Hoover, he pleaded guilty in August to 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud. His wife and son, Deborah and John Brandon Hoover, also pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud.
In addition to John Keith’s sentence, Deborah Hoover has been ordered to spend one year in house confinement, followed by five years of supervised release. John Brandon Hoover must complete a business ethics course.
To compound the family’s issues, the government is seeking more than $41 million in restitution. A hearing to determine exactly how much Hoover will have to pay back is scheduled for Feb. 12.