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Santa Barbara man sentenced to federal prison for $14M Ponzi scheme

Posted at 2:18 PM, Oct 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-11 17:18:31-04

A Santa Barbara man was sentenced Tuesday in federal court to 133 months in federal prison for multiple felony counts of wire fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, identity theft, and other charges.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Darrell Arnold Aviss, 64, ran a Ponzi scheme in which he stole approximately $14 million from victims who thought their investments would be used to purchase annuities issued by Swiss insurance companies.

Instead of purchasing the annuities, Aviss used the victim's money to support his lavish lifestyle, including mortgage payments, luxury car leases, expensive watches, trips to Monaco, more than $170,000 in purchases at a Santa Barbara nightclub, and tickets to a U2 concert and after-party.

He also failed to pay over $3 million in federal income tax.

In June, Aviss pleaded guilty to 21 felonies.

His sentence includes more than $14 million in restitution and he'll have to forfeit his interest in a Santa Barbara home worth about $4 million.