A former Santa Rosa financial advisor accused of cheating thousands of people in Northern California out of $200 million was sentenced to 10 years in prison, Monday, April, 8, 2013.
After a lengthy investigation, Gary Armitage, 62, pleaded no contest in January to four felony counts of conspiracy and securities fraud. Armitage was one of three people arrested in 2009 in one of the largest real estate Ponzi schemes in state history.
Then-Attorney General Jerry Brown said, “These three men callously swindled thousands of individuals out of $200 million to bankroll their extravagant lifestyles. They took investors money and used it to pay for an 80-acre castle estate, a Lear jet, luxury homes and fancy cars. The Ponzi scheme ultimately collapsed under its own weight, causing hardship to thousands, many of whom were retirees who lost their life savings.”
Prior to sentencing at Shasta County Superior Court, some of Armitage's many victims had their chance to face Armitage and tell him exactly what they think of him.
"Special agents with the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigated this case for 17 months," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). DOJ special agents are among 7,000 public safety professionals who are members of CSLEA. "This man ruined retirements and stole money that victims had worked their entire lives to for. Those who investigated this case were determined to bring him to justice."
One of Armitage's accomplices in the scheme, Jeffrey Guidi, struck a plea deal with prosecutors and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor. He agreed to testify against Armitage and third Ponzi scheme suspect James Koenig.
Koenig is currently on trial for his alleged role in the scheme. Armitage pleaded no contest to lesser charges back in January on the eve of Koenig's trial, a trial that is expected to last until May.