A conman who duped investors — including at least one in the Inland Empire — out of nearly $2.8 million through a bogus precious metals mining venture, used sympathy for his advanced cancer diagnosis to swindle other victims and conned an ailing 85-year-old widow out of her home, was sentenced Friday to 60 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, officials said.

Forrest Davis, 74, of Tucson, Arizona, who pleaded guilty to the felony charge in September, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton, who also ordered him to pay $2,793,215 in restitution to his victims, said Laura Eimiller, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Los Angeles office.

The FBI investigated the case.

According to his plea agreement, beginning in November 2009 — when he was a fugitive from justice living in Canada — and continuing to December 2017 after he was forced to return to the United States by Canadian immigration authorities, Davis duped prospective investors by falsely stating that he operated billion-dollar companies that had lucrative contracts with buyers of raw gold, silver and platinum.

He promised his victims that he would use their money to facilitate the refinement of the raw precious metals. Instead, Davis used his victims’ money to pay for his own personal living expenses, including food, gas, rent, and a Cadillac Escalade.

On August 27, 2013, Davis defrauded one investor, an Inland Empire resident, over the telephone and solicited a $350,000 wire transfer, saying that the money would be used to remove a lien on mineral resources which purportedly contained gold which belonged to Kingman Mining LLC, a shell company controlled by Davis, according to court documents. On the same day, Davis used approximately $200,000 of the money wired by the victim investor toward the purchase of a residence in Oro Valley, Arizona. Davis used the remainder of the $350,000 provided by the victim on personal living expenses.

Over the span of decades, Davis conned his U.S. and Canadian victims out of their personal savings, including their life savings, including preying on one victim*s love of animals to explain why he needed $15,000 to regain custody of one of his horses, court papers state. He also drew upon his victims’ sympathy by using his personal cancer diagnosis to defraud his victims out of their savings, according to court documents.

While living in Canada for 15 years, Davis held himself out as a wealthy man who was able to generate enormous returns on investments in a mineral mining venture and he convinced his victims to sell their houses, businesses, retirement savings and children’s inheritances, according to court documents. Davis also threatened his victims with violence, including alluding to connections to the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and other criminal gangs, court papers state.

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