A former Coachella Valley resident has been sentenced this week to five years in federal prison for soliciting investments in his money-losing day-trading operation.
It cost victims millions of dollars in losses, according to officials.
U .S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips sentenced Robert Charles Butler, on Monday. Butler, 50, lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, but was residing in La Quinta when he ran the investment scam, according to officials.
Butler solicited victims by falsely claiming to be a successful day trader with a proprietary trading program who had created private investment funds. E
He actually lost millions of dollars trading stocks. Butler, however, told victims to expect up to a 10 percent return on their investments.
After taking at least $7 million from victims and continuing to suffer substantial losses as a result of his trading, Butler produced fake account statements claiming substantial profits and sent them to victims.
In addition to the trading losses, Butler used some of the victims’ money to pay personal expenses, including gambling losses.
When he pleaded guilty, Butler admitted causing more than $2.5 million in losses.
Butler defrauded at least one family member and friends of the relative who lived in Indio.
Many of the investors withdrew funds from their retirement accounts after meetings at Butler’s lavish home office containing seven to eight computer screens showing stock activity, according to authorities.