Sentencing begins for members of local fraud ring

Richmond Federal Courthouse

Richmond Federal Courthouse

As the two former heads of a Chesterfield investment firm await sentencing for bilking investors out of nearly $10 million, some of the co-conspirators tied to the scheme have learned their fate.

Jason Eaton and Marlon Hardy, who pleaded guilty to conspiring with former UVA football player Merrill Robertson, were slapped in Richmond federal court this week with sentences of 63 months and 30 months, respectively.

Hardy, a Missouri resident, pleaded guilty in February to counts of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering related to his work with Robertson and others to obtain fraudulent loans from financial institutions.

Hardy received 30-month sentences on both counts, which will be served concurrently. He’ll also have five years supervised release following his prison term.

Eaton, from New Jersey, pleaded guilty on similar charges in May and will serve two concurrent 63-month sentences. He’ll also have five years of supervised release.

Hardy and Eaton were on the witness list last month at the 10-day trial of Robertson, who ran locally based Cavalier Union Investments with former partner Sherman Carl Vaughn Jr.

Prosecutors charged Robertson and Vaughn last year with obtaining more $10 million from dozens of investors and spending most of it on personal expenses or to repay previous investors.

Vaughn, who was painted at trial by Robertson’s attorneys as the mastermind of the scam, pleaded guilty and was set to be sentenced Tuesday. He was given permission to postpone that until at least Oct. 13 for health reasons.

Prosecutors are seeking a prison term for Vaughn of 87 months, despite his guilty plea and testimony as a witness in Robertson’s trial.

Robertson was the only one of the bunch to plead not guilty and take his chances in front of a jury. That gamble didn’t pay off, as he was found guilty of all 15 counts he faced.

He’ll be sentenced by Judge John Gibney on Dec. 6.

In addition to Robertson and Vaughn, Northern Virginia resident Frederick Davis II awaits sentencing after pleading guilty to allegations similar to Hardy and Eaton, along with a count of conspiracy to defraud the government. Davis is set to be sentenced Oct. 6.

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