Internet-fraud suspect admits guilt
Albertan pledges to pay victims back
An Alberta man accused of masterminding a $60-million Internet investment scam has agreed to a guilty plea in a dramatic twist to the case, say U.S. authorities.
Alyn Richard Waage has been charged with six counts of mail fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, seven counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.
A document filed with a California court says Waage, from the Nisku area, will plead guilty to two counts of mail and wire fraud as well as the conspiracy charge after earlier pleading not guilty to all charges.
He has also agreed to pay "full restitution" to his victims.
"It's great news.
"I'm just hoping that everyone gets their money back," said Cheryl Eburne, of Coquitlam, B.C., who said she lost about $14,000 after getting involved with the Tri-West Investment Club.
"The money is gone and, basically, I'm struggling on a disability pension right now."
U.S. authorities claim Tri-West promised members a high return on their money, bonuses for finding new members and no risk on original investments.
They also said the "Ponzi scheme" used cash from new investors to pay earlier investors. About 15,000 people worldwide lost money, it is claimed.
Cary Waage - Alyn Waage's son - pleaded guilty in April 2002 to charges of mail fraud and conspiring to commit money laundering.
Alyn Waage and his alleged partner, Web site designer James Michael Webb of California - who jointly faced 24 charges after being extradited in December 2002 from Costa Rica - originally both pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Under the terms of Alyn Waage's agreed plea, he will forfeit to U.S. authorities any rights, titles or interests in the proceeds of the alleged mail- and wire-fraud scheme.
Waage will also not try to discharge any "restitution obligations" in any bankruptcy proceedings.
U.S. authorities will recommend a reduction in his sentence to as low as 10 years if he co-operates.
His assistance could also mean authorities will recommend Cary Waage is sentenced to just three years.
^macro[showdigestcomments;^uri;Internet-fraud suspect admits guilt]