Former WW coverboy
Wes Rhodes, an investment adviser from Oregon City accused of stealing from his clients to buy muscle cars and sports memorabilia, was indicted for mail fraud and money laundering Friday at U.S. District Court in Portland.
The indictment alleges that between 2001 and 2006, Rhodes defrauded numerous clients by saying he would invest their money in stocks and bonds. Instead, according to the indictment, he spent their money on himself or used it to pay off other investors.
Rhodes, 56, faces up to 30 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted on both counts. He's scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 3 at 9 am in U.S. District Court.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shut down Rhodes' investment business and froze his assets last year. The SEC says he stole at least $24.6 million from several dozen investors, most of them from the Portland area. The SEC alleges he used that money to build up a nationally renowned collection of classic cars, as well as sports and pop-culture memorabilia, which he housed in a private museum next to his former home in West Linn.
A federally appointed receiver is sorting through Rhodes' assets in an attempt to recover money for his investors, many of whom lost their life savings. Investors expect to regain only a small fraction of their money. They expressed relief that Rhodes now faces criminal charges.
"At this point we're not going to get any money back, so the only satisfaction is seeing the little fat fuck get put in jail for as long as possible," says Tim Merrihew, Rhodes' former best friend, who lost more than $1 million in the alleged scam.