PORTLAND, Oregon. – A West Lynn, Oregon resident pleaded guilty today to posing as a successful real estate developer, hemp seed cultivator, and precious metal miner in order to fraudulently collect millions of dollars from individual investors and lenders.
David A. Shelofsky, 53, has pleaded guilty to one count of electronic fraud and money laundering.
Starting in 2013 in Oregon and elsewhere, Shelofsky has deliberately and intentionally devised several different investment fraud schemes, according to court documents. Shelofsky falsely informed potential investors and lenders that he had successful real estate development projects in Bend, Oregon and West Lynn, as well as a successful hemp seed growing and distribution venture in West Lynn. During the same period, Shelofsky and two others set up a precious metals mining venture that allegedly used proprietary mining technology to extract precious metals from the sand tailings of other mines. Although the group made minimal efforts to run the business, Shelofsky misled several investors about the status of the fraudulent fundraising operation.
Shelofsky has repeatedly and deliberately misrepresented information and promised false promises about the status and success of his various ventures, the expected returns to investors, and the existence of collateralized properties allegedly supporting the investment. Shelofsky used the services of others to promote his schemes and gain trust, including a lawyer to create legal documents and a bank account assistant for several limited liability corporations. Shelofsky used the funds of investors for personal expenses and maintaining his own high standard of living. Dozens of individual investors and lenders have lost millions of dollars as a result of Shelofsky’s schemes.
On June 5, 2020, Shelofsky was charged with electronic fraud and money laundering. Later, on October 20, 2020, a federal grand jury in Portland returned a 17-count indictment against Shelofsky of electronic fraud and money laundering.
Shelofsky faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; a fine of $ 500,000 or double the gross monetary gain or loss incurred as a result of his offense, whichever is greater; and three years of supervised release. He will be sentenced on November 12, 2021 by US District Court Judge Michael H. Simon.
As part of the plea agreement, Shelofsky agreed to pay at least $ 3.3 million in restitution to his victims and to confiscate any proceeds of crime that the government identified prior to sentencing. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the government can and will insist on restitution in the amount of more than $ 3.3 million, but not more than $ 16 million.
This was announced by Acting US Attorney Scott Eric Asfaug from Oregon County.
The case was investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Claire M. Fay leads the case.