10-Year Prison Term Given In $2 Million Fraud
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ A man accused of living the good life on money he raised in a fraudulent investment scheme was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to repay $2 million.
Bernard Striar, who was arrested by the FBI in Cincinnati in January, was sentenced Monday for his operation of D&B Investment Associates, a now- bankrupt commodities investment firm in suburban La Mesa.
Prosecutors said Striar attracted $16 million from 800 investors who were lured by promises of 40 percent returns in the commodities pool market.
″Mr. Striar fraudulently represented he had made enormous profits,″ Assistant U.S. Attorney William Braniff said. ″In fact, the money went for personal investments. Certainly, he was living the good life on other people’s money. He wanted to feel like a big shot. He wanted to feel important.″
Striar, 61, fled the San Diego area a day before an audit by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission exposed the scam.
In sentencing Striar, U.S. District Judge Judith Keep recommended that he be sent to a federal prison with a psychiatric facility. Striar also received five years probation and had an additional 10-year sentence suspended.
Originally indicted on 120 charges, Striar pleaded guilty in June to four counts of mail fraud and fraud by a commodities pool operator. As part of the plea bargain, the 116 remaining counts were dismissed.
Defense attorney Floralynn Einesman asked the judge to impose a sentence that would give her client ″some hope for the future.
″I believe his remorse is tremendous,″ Einesman said of her client.
She disputed prosecution figures relating to the size of the investment fraud. She said there were 100 to 200 investors and placed their losses at about $2 million. That was the figure the judge settled on for restitution after Braniff said some names investigators found on investor lists had been made up.
Striar, who served a term for forgery and grand larceny in the 1960s, had lived in San Diego from 1976 to 1984, but his family and friends knew him as Eldean ″Don″ Erickson. The name was one of several aliases Striar used in what authorities said was a 20-year-career as a confidence man.