Lake Las Vegas Scammer Sentenced
A former Lake Las Vegas resident who convinced folks to invest in bogus mining and real estate projects to the tune of $26 million has been sentenced. 68-year-old alberto DoCouto will spend 6½ years in federal prison and ordered to pay millions in restitution to the victims.
From about 2001 to 2007, DoCouto created numerous limited liability companies and corporations, and told investors that he and his companies were engaged in exploring and developing a series of lucrative mining claims in Peru, Guyana, California, and Nevada. DoCouto told investors that the mines held valuable precious metals such as gold and diamonds worth billions of dollars, and persuaded them to invest millions of dollars in the alleged projects in exchange for shares of stock, promissory notes and investment contracts in the companies. DoCouto repeatedly represented to the investors that their monies were needed to bring the projects to fruition. In fact, DoCouto’s companies and projects were a façade; the shares of stock that the investors thought they owned in DoCouto’s companies were worthless; and none of the mining projects were developed. DoCouto instead diverted and converted the investors’ funds for his own personal enrichment, including for the purchase of an opulent 6,000 square foot home at Lake Las Vegas and several luxury automobiles, all of which were seized and forfeited by authorities. After the purported mining projects failed, DoCouto solicited funds from investors in Canada, Kuwait, and elsewhere for a real estate development project in Arizona. DoCouto obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from investors to run water to the property and to develop the project, but again, he converted much of the money for his own personal purposes, including to pay the mortgage on his home, to pay for lavish home improvements, to make payments to a riding stable, and for various cash expenditures.