Imprisoned Financier Convicted for Native American Bond Scam

(Bloomberg) -- John “Yanni” Galanis, the disgraced California financier already in prison for white-collar crime, was convicted of helping his son dupe one of the poorest American Indian tribes into issuing more than $60 million in worthless bonds, the U.S. said.

A federal jury in Manhattan found the 74-year-old Galanis guilty of conspiring to make the Wakpamni Lake Community Corp., a South Dakota Sioux tribal entity, issue a series of bonds under false pretenses from 2014 to 2016, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York said Thursday in a statement. The Ponzi-like fraud ripped off pension funds from Illinois to Alabama, the U.S. said.

“As a unanimous jury swiftly found, these defendants orchestrated a highly complex scheme to defraud a Native American community and multiple pension funds, all to corruptly bankroll their own personal and business interests,” Deputy U.S. Attorney Robert Khuzami said in the statement.

Galanis, referred to in court papers as “one of the 10 biggest white-collar criminals in America,” is already serving a 6-year term for his role in a separate fraud that swindled investors in a Bermuda-based financial-services firm, Gerova Financial Group Ltd., out of $20 million.

His son, Jason Galanis, pleaded guilty in January 2017 to his role in the tribal scheme and was sentenced to 14 years. At the time, the younger Galanis was already serving 11 years for his role in the Gerova scam. Another son, Derek Galanis, was also sentenced to six years for his role in that fraud.

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