Leader of international investment fraud sentenced to federal prison

On Sept. 24, James Jeffrey Hinkeldey, 66, of Scottsdale, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Steven P. Logan to 30 years and five months in federal prison.

Earlier this year, a federal jury convicted Hinkeldey of conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, money laundering, and aggravated identity theft charges stemming from his role as one of the leaders in an $18 million investment fraud affecting 225 victims.

“Through fraud, this defendant stole the life savings from members of our community, many of whom were close to retirement; his lengthy prison sentence is well-deserved,” stated Elizabeth A. Strange, First Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Arizona, in a prepared statement. “Our office will continue to work closely with the FBI to prosecute financial predators like Hinkeldey.”

From 2006 to 2012, Hinkeldey and several others solicited millions of dollars from victims for purported investment in a variety of projects and companies, including land development in Mexico, recycling companies in Las Vegas and Chicago, and distressed real estate in Phoenix.

Hinkeldey and his co-conspirators promoted their fraudulent investment schemes in seminars, magazine articles, radio broadcasts, and private offering documents to give the fraudulent investments the appearance of legitimacy, according to a press release by the Office of the United States Attorney.

“Considering there were hundreds of victims and millions of dollars lost, it is fitting that James Hinkeldey‘s sentence is one of the highest federal white collar sentences in the District of Arizona,” said Michael DeLeon, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Division, in a prepared statement.

“We are pleased that the defendants in this case are being held accountable for their crimes and that Hinkeldey and his co-conspirator were ordered to pay restitution to the victims. The FBI would like to thank the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work on this case. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who commit complex financial crimes.”

In reality, the solicitations and offering documents were riddled with false statements, including the education and experience of Hinkeldey and his co-conspirators, the true ownership of property involved in the projects, and the feasibility of the so-called guaranteed returns.

Ultimately, Hinkeldey and his co-conspirators used investor funds not only to line their own pockets, but also to make Ponzi scheme payments to create the facade of a successful business.

Late last year, Hinkeldey’s partner in the conspiracy, Jason Mogler, formerly of Phoenix, was sentenced to 24 years and four months in federal prison for his role in the fraud. Hinkeldey and Mogler were also ordered to pay restitution to the victims for losses they incurred.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Phoenix Division of the FBI. The prosecution was handled by Monica Klapper and Peter Sexton, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

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