A Denver federal jury found a Colorado man guilty of thirty-one counts, including money laundering, mail fraud, conspiracy, and conspiracy, stemming from a nearly-decade long Ponzi scheme that cost investors nearly $30 million. Philip Lochmiller Sr., of Grand Junction, Colorado, faces a prison sentence of up to 415 years if he receives the maximum sentence under each charge.
Lochmiller Sr. operated Valley Investments along with his step-son, Philip Lochmiller Jr. and assistant Shawnee Carver. Both Lochmiller Jr. and Carver previously entered into guilty pleas which required them to provide testimony against Lochmiller Sr. Beginning in 1999, Valley Investments acquired several parcels of land to develop affordable housing communities. Newspaper advertisements solicited potential investors to finance the acquisition, promising annual returns of ten to eighteen percent in return. Investors were given promissory notes that were purportedly secured by lots of land in the communities. Instead, investor funds were used to pay expenses, personal bills, and provide interest to older investors. The scheme came to an end in 2008 when the three were indicted.
While sentencing has not been scheduled, Lochmiller Sr. is due back in Court on October 27 to address the amount of restitution he may be ordered to pay to defrauded investors. A court-appointed attorney tasked with overseeing Valley Investment assets has previously estimated that victims could expect to recover 3%-5% of their original investment.