(STL.News) – Phillip W. Conley, of Jacksonville, Florida, is facing fraud charges, U.S. Attorney Bill Powell announced.
Conley, 38, was indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in Wheeling in August 2020 on six counts of “Mail Fraud” and one count of “Securities Fraud.” Conley is alleged to have schemed 18 individuals out of nearly $5 million from 2014 to 2019. The victims were from all over the United States, including West Virginia and Maryland.
Conley operated a company by the name of Alpax, LLC, portraying himself as an investment advisor living and working out of Morgantown and Kingwood, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. He is alleged to have developed a scheme to defraud investors by convincing the victims to give him and his companies money for him to invest for returns for the victims. The victims included churches, pastors, at least one parishioner, and his adoptive mother and step-father. He is accused of giving the victims a false sense of security by mailing them false dividend statements, claiming a positive rate of return for their investments. Conley allegedly fraudulently obtained approximately $5.2 million dollars from 18 victims, but invested little or none of that money and spent much of it on private jet flights, expensive meals, clothes, jewelry, housing and living expenses for himself, returning only about $210,000 to the victims.
Conley faces up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $1,000,000 for each of the mail fraud charges. He faces up to 20 years of incarceration and a fine of up to $5 million for the securities fraud charge. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed will be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The government is also seeking the forfeiture of any property purchased from the proceeds of the crimes, including a money judgement of at least $4,990,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Danae DeMasi-Lemon and Robert H. McWilliams, Jr. are prosecuting the case on behalf of the government. The FBI investigated.