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POCATELLO â€“ An Eastern Idaho man who pleaded guilty to running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme was sentenced to eight years in federal prison Tuesday.
Daren Palmer, 42, formerly of Idaho Falls, was sentenced for his role in a Ponzi investment scheme in which investors lost over $29 million, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson said.
U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge ordered Palmer to pay $29,842,731 in restitution. Following his release from prison, Palmer must serve three years on supervised release and perform 200 hours of community service. Palmer entered a guilty plea to charges of wire fraud and money laundering in May.
Palmer owned and operated Trigon Group LLC in Idaho Falls and solicited clients to invest money. In his plea agreement, Palmer admitted that in September 2008 he solicited a client to invest $500,000 with Trigon, promising the client a favorable rate of return and a safe investment. Palmer did not tell the client that he would use the invested funds to pay other investors or that Trigon was already in financial trouble.
The plea agreement further states that between 2002 and December 2008, Palmer received approximately $75.8 million from 68 investors, who then lost more than $20 million.
In the plea agreement, Palmer also acknowledged that he laundered money by using funds from the Trigon bank account to make a personal purchase of $110,550 from a jewelry store.
â€śToday's sentence is a fair and just punishment for the irreparable and lasting harm Daren Palmer caused to his investors,â€ť said Olson. â€śWhile Mr. Palmer will spend eight years in a federal prison, his defrauded investors will spend the rest of their lives trying to recover financially. I commend the thorough and painstaking investigation by the federal agencies involved and by Pocatello branch chief Jack Haycock.â€ť
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.