deBarardinis sentenced to 15 years for wire fraud after bilking local investors out of millions

Crime

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – A local man accused of causing investors to lose nearly 60,000,000 was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, according to US Attorney Brandon B. Brown.

David D. deBerardinis, 60, of Shreveport, was sentenced today by Chief US District Judge S. Maurice Hicks, Jr. to 180 months or 15 years, followed by three years of supervised release, after he pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

deBerardinis, a Shreveport-based executive, pleaded guilty to the charge of wire fraud on August 25. He admitted that he operated and managed numerous business entities and that he represented himself and his business entities to be part of the petroleum industry involved in a complex fuel trading business.

In addition, deBerardinis solicited and caused others to solicit, individual investors and financial institutions to provide funds for his businesses in exchange for interest payments and a guaranteed return of principal.

He also told investors and financial institutions that he had a preferential trading arrangement with Alon USA Energy, Inc. (Alon) that generated significant profits that would be used to repay the investors and financial institutions when in truth and in fact, DeBerardinis knew that he had no such arrangement with Alon.

Between April 2014 and June 2015, PlainsCapital Bank, a financial institution in Dallas, Texas, provided funding to DeBerardinis in the amount of $29,500,000 allegedly to expand his fuel trading business. At the time the funding was obtained, however, deBerardinis knew that he was not making fuel trades and that he did not have a relationship with Alon.

The funding from PlainsCapital was made by several interstate wire transfers from PlainsCapital Bank in Dallas to one of DeBerardinis’ bank accounts in Shreveport.

The defendant either initiated or caused to be initiated these wire transfers. One of the wire transfers occurred on or about November 25, 2014, in the amount of $17,100,000.

“As was evident in today’s sentencing hearing, this defendant spent many years conning not only business associates but also friends who trusted him, out of millions of dollars and destroying many of their lives while doing so,” Brown said.

In exchange for his plea, the other 18 counts in his indictment were dismissed.

A presentence investigation estimated the amount of loss to the victims in this case to be more than $58,000,000.

deBerardinis was ordered to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Feb. 16. A restitution hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. March 28 to determine the exact full amount of restitution to be paid by DeBerardinis.

Brown said deBerardinis’ “cavalier attitude about the deception he used and the destruction that he caused is appalling.”

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