Loudon man third to be sentenced in fraud scheme

Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. - A Tennessee man has been sentenced to federal prison for his role in an international conspiracy involving 19th-century railroad bonds and 100-year-old Chinese bonds.

Robert William Searles of Loudon, Tenn., was handed a four-year, nine-month prison term and ordered to pay more than $3.6 million in restitution.

The 71-year-old Searles is the third person sentenced in the scheme that federal prosecutors say defrauded hundreds of investors around the world of millions of dollars.

A federal grand jury alleged Searles, Joseph L. Thornburgh of Mounds, Steven Fishman of Corona, Calif., and Wayne Leslie Davidson of Wanganui, New Zealand, conspired to promote the scheme.

Defense attorneys maintained their clients had a "good-faith" belief in the program.