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Thu Mar 2, 2017, 11:50 AM

Judge rejects effort to withdraw guilty plea in massive $100M Ponzi scheme

A federal judge in Sacramento on Tuesday rejected an effort by scam artist Lee Loomis to withdraw a guilty plea he entered a year ago – one that could send him to prison for 18 years.

After a 45-minute hearing, U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez told the former financial adviser that he saw no evidence to support Loomis’ claims that he was under duress at the time he accepted a plea agreement and pleaded guilty in January 2016 to a single count of wire fraud.

“In fact, Mr. Loomis’ demeanor was one of competence and calm ...” said Mendez, who presided when Loomis entered his guilty plea. “The fact is he pleaded guilty on Jan. 29, 2016, under oath and in open court.”

The finding moves Loomis, who has been in custody since September 2012 and is accused of bilking investors in six states out of as much as $100 million, one step closer to a federal prison sentence. Mendez set March 28 for sentencing, although Loomis, who is acting as his own attorney, suggested that date would not hold up because he plans to appeal.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article135557718.html

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