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Telemarketing fraud lands 2 in federal prison

POSTED: April 7, 2010 10:14 p.m.

A Hoschton man was one of two people sentenced to federal prison Wednesday for his role in a telemarketing scheme that defrauded dozens of foreign investors, officials said.

Patrick J. Soltis, 47, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Cooper to three years and five months in prison, according to Patrick Crosby, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

A co-defendant, 57-year-old John A. Reece of St. Augustine, Fla., was sentenced to six years and six months in prison.

Soltis received a lesser sentence for cooperating with the government investigation, Crosby said.

According to the U.S. attorney’s office, the two men made several false claims to defraud people who were called by high-pressure telemarketers based out of a Marietta call center.

The men claimed they owned a private bottled water company, were involved with the University of Minnesota to develop a species of tree that grew faster, and owned a cosmetic company that Raquel Welch endorsed.

Investors were enticed into investing in a shell company known as Wolf & Soltis Holdings LLC.

The call lists used by telemarketers targeted foreign investors in English-speaking countries, primarily Australia and Canada, and resulted in losses of more than $600,000 to the victims, Crosby said.

The fraud occurred in 2002. Soltis pleaded guilty in October 2008, and Reece pleaded guilty in January.

Soltis was ordered to pay $301,000 in restitution, and Reece was ordered to pay the victims $582,000.



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