June 16, 2024

A person claiming to be a life mentor will face twelve months in a Nevada county prison after confessing to orchestrating a Ponzi scheme. Victims entrusted him with several hundred thousand dollars to invest, however, he chose to squander this at casinos, according to prosecutors.

Rodney Dean Buckle, 66, was also mandated by the court to reimburse $282,980 after his prior admittance to two charges related to fraud, including securities fraud. A judge ruled on Thursday to suspend Buckle’s incarceration sentence and instead imposed a stipulation of 36 months of probation. This includes a one-year term in prison, as affirmed by Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford in astatement.

Spanning at least three years, Buckle touted himself as a life mentor and finance consultant who is now accused of defrauding his clients of substantial amounts of money. Many of the victims he tricked were older adults, said Ford.

“To trick and exploit others, particularly our senior citizens, for individual gain is both unethical and unlawful,” Ford expressed in a statement. “Fraudsters taking advantage of hardworking citizens of Nevada will consistently endure investigation and prosecution from my division.”

Reports: Buckle squandered millions at Las Vegas betting establishments

Buckle’s purported scheme incorporated the creation of counterfeit businesses to attract clients who transferred money to him under the false belief that he would invest it on their behalf, prosecutors revealed in court filings.

Victims cited in court documents shelled out in excess of $1,000 in several instances to Buckle, potentially enticed by his promise of 100% return on their capital. However, Buckle is alleged to have gambled vast sums at Las Vegas betting venues, as per KLAS-TV information derived from the Nevada Secretary of State’s office reports.

In one betting establishment, Buckle placed wagers totaling $2.4 million at the sports book, incurring a loss of $76,000 before he was excluded, reported the news outlet. In another gambling establishment, Buckle gambled $440,000, losing all but a minuscule $6,000 of it.

The Nevada Secretary of State’s office started an investigation following numerous complaints about Buckle and his mock businesses. Prosecutors claim that the scheme ran for at least from Feb. 1, 2014, to April 30, 2017, before Buckle was apprehended by Las Vegas police years later in 2022.

Queries to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department were redirected to the Nevada Attorney General’s Office.

USA TODAY has left messages with both the Nevada Secretary of State’s office and the Attorney General’s office asking for further documents. As of now, neither of these messages has been answered.

Eric Lagatta reports on urgent and trending topics for USA TODAY. He can be emailed at elagatta@gannett.com