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Buford man pleads guilty to defrauding investors of $3.2 million
Blake Richards faces up to 20 years in prison

A Buford man pleaded guilty last week to defrauding 11 investors of $3.2 million, according to court documents.

Blake B. Richards pleaded guilty on June 15 to wire fraud between June 2008 and May 2013. 

Sentencing in Richards’ case is set for Aug. 31. According to the sentencing guidelines, there is no mandatory minimum term of imprisonment, and the maximum term is 20 years.

Attorney Nathaniel Cochran did not return a call for comment.

“The object of the scheme to defraud was for defendant Richards to unjustly enrich himself at the expense of the investors,” according to the May 17 charge document.

The penalty guidelines also include full restitution to all victims and “forfeiture of any and all proceeds from the commission of the offense,” according to court documents.

According to the charge document, the Richards was accused of falsely and fraudulently representing himself “to investors that he would invest their funds through his investment vehicle in life insurance, fixed income assets, variable annuities, and household-name stocks.”

The funds were deposited into four separate bank accounts.

“Defendant Richards kept the funds for himself, while falsely and fraudulently representing to clients that their funds were invested in the agreed-upon investment vehicles,” according to court documents.

In May 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Richards with misappropriating investor funds. A judge ordered him to pay back $1.8 million and a civil penalty of $80,000, according to a news release from the commission.

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