LOGAN — A 54-year-old Logan woman, Lori Ann Anderson, is being sent to prison again after running a Ponzi scheme and bilking 46 investors out of more than $1.7 million.
Anderson cried, wiping back tears with a tissue during the two hour sentencing Monday afternoon in 1st District Court. She sat next to her attorney while nine of her victims told Judge Thomas Willmore how she stole money from them and others.
The investors, many of them neighbors and friends of Anderson, described how she befriended them through church and gave them false financial statements, leading them to trust her.
Judge Willmore told the packed courtroom he was sorry for their losses. He called Anderson a danger and said, he had never seen so many victims in one case while being a judge the past 17 years.
Judge Willmore sentenced Anderson to the maximum, one-to-15-years in prison for each of the three second-degree felonies, and ordered two of the terms to be served consecutively. The sentence means she will serve between two and 30-years in the Utah State Prison.
Anderson ran an investment business called SMTS out of her home for several years. She told her customers that SMTS stood for “Show Me the Savings,” or “Stock Market Trading Services.”
Brian Williams from the State Attorney General’s Office told the court, Anderson gathered large sums of money from her victims, creating a type of trading club. She then would use those funds in day trading investments through TD Ameritrade.
Williams said while Anderson incurred losses she would use money from new investors to continue making payouts to older investors. She was arrested in December after the FBI received a tip and started investigating.
In January, Anderson accepted a plea deal, pleading guilty to two counts of securities fraud and one count of unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies. Under conditions of the plea, the Attorney General’s Office agreed not to ask for incarceration if Anderson repaid the $1.7 million dollars by the time of sentencing.
During Monday’s court appearance, Anderson’s said she had a check for $15,000 but had not been able to find a job because of her criminal history.
Judge Willmore angrily said if she really loved and cared about repaying her victims, she would have done more in the past five-months to make more money. He said her track record showed that she will never pay back the money she stole.
Anderson’s family cried as she was taken into custody and led out of the courtroom by sheriff’s deputies.
This is the second time Anderson has been sentenced to prison for fraud. Court records show in 1992 she was sentenced to one-to-15-years in prison after pleading guilty in a similar type case. At that time, she lost her securities license after embezzling $140,000 from Farm Bureau Insurance policy holders.
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