ATLANTA – Thomas Preston O’Berry, who scammed investors out of over $2.4 million in a Ponzi scheme, was sentenced on Thursday by U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones to serve two years in federal prison on charges of wire fraud.
“This defendant preyed upon individuals who trusted him to be honest and ethical and led them to invest millions of dollars in a bogus company,” U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said. “As the sentence reflects, investment schemes that defraud our hard working citizens are serious crimes.”
O’Berry , 43, of Smyrna, Georgia, was sentenced to two years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $921,761. O’Berry was convicted of these charges on May 10, 2012, upon his plea of guilty.
According to Yates, the charges, and other information presented in court: O’Berry solicited people to invest in his “thriving” software consulting business named “MoGo Consulting LLC” that he fraudulently represented provided software implementation and consulting services by contracting with client companies and hiring independent contractors to perform the service. He also represented to two potential investors, who were a father and son, that MoGo needed investor assistance to overcome a cash flow problem it was experiencing. As a result of these false representations, the victim investors agreed to pay $10,000 for each purported consultant contract, and, in return, O’Berry promised to pay $1,000 per month to each investor for the duration of each contract.
Further, O’Berry promised that upon completion of each contract the entire $10,000 initial investment would be returned to the original investors. However, O’Berry never secured any clients or contracts for MoGo. Instead, O’Berry fabricated a total of 245 consultant contracts and convinced one victim to loan the company an additional $30,000, causing the victims to jointly invest a total of $2,480,000 in a fictitious business with a “cash flow problem.” O’Berry was able to keep the scheme alive for over two years by making partial payments to the victim-investors. Eventually, it became apparent that the promises and representations that O’Berry had made were lies. The victims lost nearly $1,000,000 which O’Berry had stolen for his own use.