SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — A Utah business owner and coin dealer has been sentenced to prison for running what officials called a “$200 million, multi state Ponzi scheme.”
Gaylen Dean Rust, 62, of Layton was sentenced Tuesday to 19 years in federal prison. He was also ordered to pay more than $153 million to 568 victims.
Rust was charged in November 2018 and pleaded guilty this past December to securities fraud and other charges.
In a news release from the Utah Department of Commerce this week, officials decried the damage done by Rust’s scheme. They said he admitted to taking money from investors to buy and sell silver bullion, but instead deposited the money in his own personal accounts and using it to pay past investors.
“The actions of Mr. Rust represent some of the biggest consumer harm we’ve seen,” said Margaret Busse, the department’s executive director, in a statement. “Ponzi schemes absolutely destroy trust in the investment industry. Without trust, individuals aren’t willing to participate in future opportunities and that affects our entire economy.”
In a statement, the United States Attorney for Utah, Andrea Martinez, also reacted to Rust’s sentencing.
“Those who defraud their family, friends, and associates out of their hard-earned savings will be held accountable,” she said. “This should be a stark reminder to all Utahns that it is imperative to vet your financial advisor or anyone who attempts to persuade you to invest in their business or financial dealings.”