O.C. man gets six years in investment scheme
An Orange County man was convicted Tuesday and sentenced to six years in state prison for defrauding more than $350,000 from investors he met through a youth sports league, prosecutors said.
Christopher Alan Tate, 47, pleaded guilty to seven felony counts of securities fraud, eight felony counts of passing rubber checks and one felony count of forgery, according to a statement from the Orange County district attorney's office. He must also pay restitution and a fine totaling $887,944.
Between April 2008 and May 2010, prosecutors said Tate convinced nine people -- parents and grandparents he met through a sports program his children participated in--to invest money in a business, promising high and quick returns.
He collected about $350,000 from them but never invested the money or paid them back. Prosecutors said he devised elaborate excuses when they asked about their investment and would write checks with insufficient funds or forged checks.
He told one investor, prosecutors said, that the money was tied up in bankruptcy court. He scheduled a meeting with that person outside a courthouse, walking out purporting that he had just attended a bankruptcy hearing.
Last week, six of the investors taken advantage of in the scheme offered victim impact statements to the court. They said that their families had been financially ruined. One called Tate a "pathological liar" and said his wife had grown ill from the stress. "This stress was given by the lies and the financial loss that Chris Tate has caused us," he said.
-- Rick Rojas