A United Kingdom citizen with ties to a popular soccer player will spend 72 months in prison for his role in a wire fraud conspiracy that cost investors from several countries nearly $3 million.
Fifty-two-year-old Martin Rhys-Jones was sentenced Monday for laundering money. He was also ordered to pay $2,897,130 in restitution.
Rhys-Jones was accused of overseeing a "boiler room" scam in Barcelona, Spain. The scam conned investors in the United Kingdom and Canada into buying nearly worthless shares of restricted stock at severely inflated prices. Customers were told they were buying more valuable, regular shares of stock.
Approximately 250 investors lost more than $2,900,000 in the scam.
A portion of the criminal proceeds were funneled through a bank account in Western New York before being sent to numerous overseas accounts controlled by Rhys-Jones and a co-conspirator who had ties to Buffalo.
Rhys-Jones was extradited from Spain for his trial and pleaded guilty in June to money laundering charges.
His co-conspirator, Arnold Wrobel, is a former resident of Buffalo who was convicted in December 2015 and is awaiting sentencing.
Rhys-Jones' daughter, Emma Rhys-Jones, is engaged to popular soccer star Gareth Bale. The Welsh native is a winger for both Spanish club Real Madrid and the Wales national team. Bale and Emma Rhys-Jones live together in Madrid and have two daughters.
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