Last week, a federal jury found Jeffrey D. McHatton, 68, of Chandler, Arizona, and Robert B. Sproat, 60, of Mesa, Arizona, guilty on 10 counts of Securities Fraud. The case was tried before United States District Judge Rosemary Márquez.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 28, 2022. Prior to trial, a third co-defendant, Robert Moss, 56, of Gilbert, Arizona, pleaded guilty to his involvement in the scheme and was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Evidence presented in the trial demonstrated that, between 2012 and 2014, McHatton, Sproat, and Moss used a religious charitable organization as a front to entice victims to invest over $1.2 million. Several of the victims targeted in the scheme were elderly.
McHatton, Sproat, and Moss fraudulently promoted investments in the recovery of low alpha lead from Central America, gold from the Philippines, and diamonds from Africa, though none of the items were ever produced. McHatton, Sproat, and Moss used large portions of the investment funds for their own personal use. The victims never received a return on investments other than minimal “interest” payments derived from other victims’ money.