Hamilton sentenced to 25 years for coin scam
Leslie John Hamilton Jr., formerly of Sheboygan, was sentenced Thursday in federal court to 25 years in prison for swindling 402 investors out of $14 million, a federal prosecutor said.
Hamilton, 54, now of Mount Charleston, Nev., was convicted in April of 28 counts of fraud in the U.S. Eastern District Court of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Hamilton, the owner of Capital Collectibles of Nevada, a coin investment firm, will have to serve 21 years and three months of the sentence, said Assistant United States Attorney Carol Kraft, who prosecuted the case. Fifteen percent of the sentence is knocked off for “good time,” she said.
“The evidence at trial showed it to be a Ponzi-like coin investment scheme,” Kraft said in an interview Thursday. “Ponzi schemes are typically where investor money comes in. It’s used to pay previous investors and as long as the new investor money comes in, the scheme can stay afloat, but as soon as the investments dry up, then the person who’s perpetrating it becomes unable to pay the old investors and things collapse.”
Douglas Bihler of Greenfield, Hamilton’s attorney, declined to make any comment except that he’ll file an appeal.
Hamilton stole from 300 Wisconsin residents and others who live elsewhere, prosecutors said.
Hamilton began his coin investment business in Sheboygan. At one time, he had other outlets in Wisconsin and in Las Vegas.
Hamilton promised investors large returns through selling rare coins, authorities said. Hamilton’s customers made a string of investments and were promised a profit on their investments ranging from 8 percent to 150 percent, prosecutors said.
In Sheboygan County Circuit Court, 28 felony fraud charges filed against Hamilton in November 2001 were dismissed in January 2002. Three other fraud charges filed against Hamilton here in June 2001 were dismissed a year later.
Hamilton also is facing 30 felony counts filed in February 2003 in Dodge County Circuit Court and four felony charges filed in June 2002 in Iron County Circuit Court.
Angelina Roebuck, who was Hamilton’s live-in girlfriend, was sentenced in July to six months in federal prison for one count of fraud, according to court documents.