Former UCLA decathlete gets 17 years for $28 million scam – Daily News
A former UCLA decathlete was sentenced Monday, Nov. 21, to 17 years and six months in federal prison for raising more than $28 million from investors who falsely said their funds would fund companies marketing pens. cannabis vaping.
David Bunevacz, 53, of Calabasas was convicted by U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer, who also ordered him to pay $35 million in restitution. During the hearing, Fischer noted that Bunevacz had “attacked individuals who thought he was their friend” and that “the seriousness of (his) conduct cannot be captured in dollars and cents,” according to the office of the US attorney.
Fischer also found that Bunevacz continued to perpetrate his scheme even as he served probation for a state court conviction, concluding, “Not even a criminal conviction and the threat of imprisonment convinced ( Bunevacz) to become a law-abiding citizen”.
Bunevacz pleaded guilty in July to one federal count of securities fraud and wire fraud. He has been in federal custody since his arrest on April 5.
Bunevacz sought investment in various companies he said were involved in the sale of vape pens containing cannabis products such as CBD oil and THC.
He falsely told at least one investor that he had a long-standing relationship with a Chinese disposable vape pen maker. Bunevacz provided investors with false documents, including bank statements, invoices and purchase orders, to support his claims about the companies’ success and the investors’ need for funds, according to his plea agreement.
Bunevacz embezzled the majority of the funds to pay for “a luxurious house in Calabasas, trips to Las Vegas, jewelry, designer handbags, a lavish birthday party for her daughter and horses”, documents filed before federal court in Los Angeles.
Bunevacz spent more than $8.1 million at casinos, paid an event planner $218,700 as part of the birthday party, and bought a horse for $330,000. Some investor funds were used to repay previous investors.
Bunevacz’s blog touts his successes as a former decathlete who competed for the Philippines.
The investigation found that Bunevacz had worked to conceal negative information from investors, such as his 2017 felony conviction for illegally selling securities.
After an investor uncovers a civil lawsuit against Bunevacz, the defendant emailed a forged version of the settlement agreement to falsely believe he had been paid $325,000 in a settlement . In reality, it was Bunevacz who had agreed to pay $325,000 to settle the claim.
Operating through his cannabis companies, Bunevacz caused investor losses of at least $28.4 million.