A former investment broker who solicited investors to buy Subway restaurants but instead, used their money for his real estate investments, wasn't his first fraud scheme, according to testimony in his federal sentencing hearing Thursday.
Randy Beltramea, 49, of Marion, devised a similar fraud scheme in 2000, taking two groups of investors for more than $200,000, their Cedar Rapids attorney testified.
Brian Fagan, the investors' attorney, said Beltramea "pocketed" his clients' money for his own real estate investments and never told the investors where they money was going. The investors received an award through arbitration but haven't been able to collect it from Beltramea.
Now, Beltramea faces up to six years or more in prison and thousands in victim restitution in another fraud scheme he pleaded guilty to last November. His sentencing hearing started Thursday but the judge needed more time to consider arguments and victim restitution. U.S. District Chief Judge Linda Reade will set another hearing.
Reade detained Beltramea, who had been free on bond pending sentencing, after hearing testimony regarding previous schemes and victims. She said he continues to give investment advice, according to testimony, and she was going to detain him to "keep him from victimizing more people."
Assistant U.S. Attorney CJ Williams said he agreed with the court. Beltramea has a history of avoiding legal obligations and history of deceptive practices and false pretenses.
Terence McAtee, Beltramea's attorney, made an argument to allow Beltramea to remain free on bond, saying he hadn't violated the no contact order for victims since he's been charged and has appeared for all court hearings.
According to a plea agreement, Beltramea admitted he devised a scheme to defraud investors by soliciting money from them under false pretenses in 2009 and 2010. He admitted to telling the investors that he was investing their money in Subway restaurants but used their money for his own real estate deals and his personal expenses.
In connection with soliciting money from one of the investors, Beltramea provided the investor with a promissory note on which he forged the signature of another person who was involved in buying a Subway restaurant.
Beltramea also admitted that he moved some of the proceeds from the fraud into a bank account under his mother’s name to hide the source of the money and in an effort to evade taxes, according to the plea agreement. The IRS had previously imposed a tax lien for more than $320,000 against Beltramea because he had not filed tax returns or paid taxes since 2001.
He also admitted that he obtained loans and loan extensions from two banks by providing them with false financial statements and with tax returns he said had been filed with the IRS, according to the plea.