SALT LAKE CITY — A Logan man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for defrauding multiple victims of over $5.4 million between 2011 and 2016.
According to the Department of Justice, in addition to time in prison, 45-year-old Ryan R. West was ordered to be on supervised release for three years and also pay $5,420,206.98 in restitution to his victims and forfeit $5,261,755.73 in proceeds and a 4-carat diamond.
Special agents from the FBI found that West first started asking for investments from an individual for a gravel quarry business located in West Texas.
Instead of using the money he received for the business, he used it for personal expenses, including payments on a 4-carat diamond, the Department of Justice revealed in a press release Wednesday.
West also borrowed money for the quarry against the equity in the home of an individual he met through church and when he defaulted on the loans, the victim lost his home in foreclosure.
“The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting fraudsters who prey on vulnerable members of our community,” said Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez. “Our thoughts are with the victims of this case, some of whom were elderly, vulnerable and met West through church, business and family connections.”
A second fraudulent business endeavor involved asking for investments for property flipping in North Dakota. West received $650,000 from several people and only a portion of that was used for the real estate venture.
West then sold the property and pocketed $190,000 without telling the investors.
57-year-old Gary Alan Gygi, West's co-defendant also pled guilty in August and is scheduled to be sentenced later in December.
“Driven by greed, Mr. West and Mr. Gygi’s criminal misconduct devastated their victims, some of whom were seniors and vulnerable adults," said Special Agent in Charge Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI. "To those who make false claims to steal people’s money, know that there are serious consequences. We also urge the public to do their due diligence when approached about investment opportunities, understanding that there are unscrupulous fraudsters who stand at the ready to separate you from your hard-earned money and property."