Benjamin Rafael, a former Wells Fargo bank employee recruited by McConley and Van Eman, furthered the scheme by lying to victims about the security of their funds, prosecutors said. Victims lost millions of dollars, and their contributions were never matched. Instead of financing projects, the money was transferred to personal and corporate bank accounts and spent on luxury automobiles, personal watercraft, real estate, stocks, jewelry, home furnishings, designer clothes, hotel accommodations and air travel.
Rafael previously pleaded guilty to his part in the scheme, as well as another case involving fraudulent applications for COVID-19 relief loans. He was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.