A Cedar Rapids man who a prosecutor described as having "sociopathic" behavior, was sentenced to 25 years in prison Friday for cheating investors out of thousands of dollars.
Alan Lucas, 43, gave more an hour and a half allocution, which is usually given by a defendant to express remorse, an apology or explain motivation for the crime, but Lucas had no remorse. He attempted to retry his case to justify his actions based on corporate law and laws governing a partnership agreement. He even claimed the investors had no right to the money they put into Covenant Investment Fund.
"I did not steal," Lucas said almost pumping up his arms in the air. "It was not their money. It was the company's."
Lucas then said he didn't flee the state before his trial ended last October. He went to Wisconsin to retrieve documents for his lawyer that they needed for court the next day but didn't make it back.
Lucas fled to Wisconsin before the last day of his trial. His mother, who was concerned about him, came into open court that morning and told the judge that Lucas had purchased a plane ticket to India and was going to leave the country. Authorities arrested him in Wisconsin before he had a chance.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Nancy Baumgartner let him say what he wanted and then told him she had heard this argument at every hearing and during the trial last October when he was convicted of ongoing criminal conduct and first-degree theft.
She sentenced Lucas to 35 years on both charges but ran them concurrently for a total of 25 years in prison. He will also have to pay $130,820 in victim restitution. His appeal bonds on both charges are set at $750,000 cash only.
Several victims submitted impact statements to the court but four victims who attended the hearing didn't make any statements in court.
Assistant Iowa Attorney General Rob Sand said Lucas' 2006 BMW was also forfeited for restitution and it would be auctioned off and the money will go to the nine victims in this case. Sand said another $59,000 in cash was previously seized from Lucas, which will also go to the victims.
Lucas also faces the failure to appear charge for him absconding from trial, which if convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
Lucas' attorney, Rick Zimmerman, made an argument to continue sentencing but Baumgartner denied it, saying he missed two days of his trial and hadn't been able to present defenses regarding his due process. He didn't understand the "rush" for sentencing.
Baumgartner said Lucas had delayed the trial many times, arguing for a new lawyer, saying the court had no jurisdiction over this matter and he fought extradition from Wisconsin. She didn't think it was rushed - he had four months to prepare for sentencing.
Baumgartner said the sentences were appropriate because Lucas hadn't taken any responsibility or showed any remorse for his actions, and he converted money from investors for his own personal use.
According to trial testimony, Lucas purchased Convenant Investment Fund from an associate, Noah Aulwes, in May 2010 and Aulwes transferred nearly $190,000 in the fund to Lucas, but the 40 investors were not informed of the transaction.
Lucas then took the investors' funds and paid off his personal credit card, rent for his company Asherlee Management, property taxes, purchased a BMW and other items, according to trial testimony. Lucas claimed at trial that he was the general partner of the fund and had a right to the assets of the company, but according to terms of the fund the contract was between the investors and general partner Noah Aulwes.
Aulwes, 55, of Cedar Rapids, was convicted of securities fraud and other charges in December 2012, and is serving a 10-year prison sentence. He was also ordered to pay $363,000 in victim restitution.Last year, the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the Iowa Attorney General's Office civil judgment awarded last year for more than a $1 million against Lucas and eight businesses he controlled. Lucas was accused of engaging in a pattern of fraudulent conduct for the purpose of bilking investors out of more than $150,000 they believed they had invested with Aulwes.