A Dallas County state court jury sentenced Juan Miguel Lopez to 79 years in prison on Dec. 7 – one year for each of the victims Lopez defrauded in a $4.9 million scheme involving the sale of business contracts to fund small business loans.
The jury found Lopez guilty on charges of money laundering and securities fraud on Dec. 6, following a two-week trial.
Lopez sold fraudulent investment contracts to approximately 79 individuals through four companies based in Addison, a Dallas suburb: Mito Bank, Mito Capital LLC, Mito Financial LLC, and Mito Group. Lopez told investors the companies would use the money to finance small-business loans, which would generate revenue for investors.
Lopez promised the investors, most of whom are Hispanic and some, like Lopez, born in Mexico, that the Mito companies would pay monthly interest of between 3% and 8%. In fact, Lopez mainly operated a Ponzi scheme, making interest payments to some investors with money from newer investors who purchased investment contracts.
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office prosecuted Lopez with assistance from the Texas State Securities Board.