The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the sentence of convicted swindler Edward L. Moskop of Belleville.
U.S. Attorney Stephen Wigginton said he was satisfied by the ruling, which was announced Wednesday morning. He said he plans to continue to seek restitution for victims defrauded of a total of more than $2.4 million in Moskop's Ponzi scheme.
"I will continue to pursue every avenue in my ongoing fight to get as much restitution for these victims as is possible," Wigginton said "Through his thievery, Mr. Moskop imposed a financial death penalty on his victims. By law, I will try to get every penny that I can back to these innocent victims."
Moskop, 65, was sentenced in January 2012 to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges. The former owner of Moskop & Associates, 2726 Frank Scott Parkway West, Belleville, also was ordered to pay restitution of $1.5 million although he testified during his sentencing hearing that he spent all but about $18,000 of the money he stole through phony investments in mutual funds and certificates of deposit and by pocketing insurance premiums for policies that didn't really exist.
Wigginton said before he was sentenced that he believed Moskop stashed his victims' money when he learned he was under investigation.
In the appeals court ruling, the panel wrote it sided with prosecutors because "the government's arguments in aggravation, rather than parroting upward adjustments in the
guidelines, focused on ... grounds that the Sentencing Commission has encouraged district courts to consider when evaluating the adequacy of a within range prison term."
In all there were 26 victims to Moskop's scheme, mostly friends and family members who lost their life savings. Some seemed to get nervous about Moskop's handling of their finances and demanded their money back. He told authorities that he made about $1 million in "lulling payments" designed to fool his clients into thinking their investment was paying off. But in reality, Moskop lost his license to sell securities in 1990 after he was found to have placed $30,000 of investor's money in his personal bank account.