A fifth DBSI Inc. official will do time for his role in the fraud-driven collapse of the Idaho real-estate firm.
Gary W. Bringhurst, 47 years old, this week was sentenced to five years of probation-including 60 days of intermittent imprisonment-according to federal prosecutors. Last year, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud.
Mr. Bringhurst joins former DBSI President Douglas L. Swenson and three other former officials in receiving sentences for their roles in the fraud that brought DBSI several years ago.
Prosecutors say Mr. Swenson and others publicly held the unprofitable DBSI out as profitable to try to lure investors, essentially operating the company like a Ponzi scheme by relying on funds from new investors to pay old investors. DBSI entered bankruptcy proceedings in November 2008.
In August, Mr. Swenson was sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of 44 counts of securities fraud and 34 counts of wire fraud. Mark Ellison, DBSI’s former general counsel, received a five-year sentence. Mr. Swenson’s sons-David Swenson and Jeremy Swenson, both assistant secretaries-received three-year sentences. Mr. Ellison and the Swenson brothers were also convicted of 44 counts of securities fraud, but all four men have appealed their convictions.
A federal jury reached its verdict on Mr. Swenson and his colleagues after a 42-day trial that began in February. The trial was marked by tragedy when a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent testifying in the case was found of dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The agent’s death took the shine off prosecutors’ victory, prompting U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson to call the “human price of this case.too high.”