SALT LAKE CITY — A 45-year-old Logan man was sentenced to five years in federal prison for swindling multiple victims of more than $5.4 million between 2011 and 2016.
According to the Department of Justice, in addition to time behind bars, 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 with the FBI determined that West first started asking for investments from an individual for a gravel quarry business located in West Texas.
Instead of using the money West 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. However, when he defaulted on the loans, the victim lost his home in foreclosure.
Acting United States Attorney Andrea T. Martinez said the department’s thoughts are with the victims of the case, some of whom were elderly, vulnerable and met West through church, business and family connections. She stated, “The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting fraudsters who prey on vulnerable members of our community.”
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 took $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.
Special Agent in Charge Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI said West and Gygi were driven by greed. Their criminal misconduct devastated their victims, some of whom were seniors and vulnerable adults. She said, “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.”