A Las Vegas man, who was free on bail in a $1.5 million imported goods fraud case when he pulled a second $232,000 fraud involving the "Gorillaback" back brace device, has been sentenced to nine years and seven months in federal prison for stinging five Orange County investors.
Jonathan Glen Turner is a piece of work. From January 2005 through June 2006, he pulled a $1.5 million fraud on investors in two of his Las Vegas companies that claimed to import goods from Asia and then resell them at substantial profits. A federal grand jury indicted him in October 2009.
Turner was free on bail in March 2011 when he befriended a Las Vegas chiropractor who had invented the pain relieving Gorillaback device. After Turner touted his sales prowess from his previous companies, he joined the chiropractor and the practitioner's wife in forming Products International to manufacture and sell Gorillabacks.
But instead of selling the devices, Turner created phony purchase orders from various entities to make it appear to the couple that more than 10,000 products had been manufactured, ordered and sold. In fact, none had been made and there were no actual buyers. Turner then persuaded the couple to raise investment money from their family and friends so more supposedly pre-sold devices could be manufactured. Between March 2011 and January 2012, five Orange County residents invested about $232,500 to have the devices manufactured.
Through a series of misrepresentations, those funds landed in Turner's own bank accounts, and he used the money on personal expenses through a series of cash withdrawals.
The second fraud was reported to the FBI, and Turner was arrested in April 2012.
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At Santa Ana's Reagan courthouse in October 2012, a jury found Turner guilty of two counts of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud in connection with the imported-goods case. After a three-week trial that had Turner representing himself, he was found guilty in August 2013 of three more counts of wire fraud in the Gorillaback case and one count of committing a felony while on pre-trial release.
In May, Judge James Selna sentenced Turner to seven years in prison and ordered him to pay $1.5 million in restitution for the imported-goods scam. On Monday, Selna tacked on the second prison sentence and ordered Turner to pay $229,500 in restitution in the Gorillaback case.
There's got to be an easier way to make a living.