monopoly_money.jpgA man was sentenced in San Francisco Monday to five years in prison for bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars from several victims who thought they were investing with him, prosecutors said.

Keith Wilson, 56, was sentenced in San Francisco Superior Court for money laundering and aggravated white collar crime involving seven victims and more than $347,000, District Attorney George Gascon said at a news conference this afternoon.

“This defendant thought he could use peoples’ hard-earned money as his personal piggy bank and get away with it,” Gascon said.

He said Wilson’s crimes started in 2006 and involved victims who thought his two companies, “Tribecca” and “Lone Cedar,” were buying distressed real estate properties around the Bay Area and reselling them for a profit.

However, Wilson never invested the money. Instead, he used it “living very expensively,” including going on shopping sprees, patronizing expensive restaurants and making political contributions, Gascon said.

Wilson was a member of various merchant and community groups, such as the Greater Geary Boulevard Merchant Association, and those connections “added legitimacy to his operation” while also helping him to meet some of the potential victims, Gascon said.

“He’s someone a lot of people got to know through these circles of trust,” he said.
Jordanna Thigpen, who handled the civil case against Wilson, said there were other victims besides the seven involved in the criminal case, most of whom had given Wilson between $5,000 and $10,000.

“It was almost like he wanted to keep things in small claims court,” Thigpen said.

Wilson was eventually arrested January in Stockton.

Gascon said prosecutors believe there may be other victims out there who were defrauded by Wilson and encouraged them to come forward.

Anyone who has information about the case is asked to call the Police Department’s financial crimes unit at (415) 553-1521.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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