Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Daniel Meredith sentenced to 11 years in prison

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Daniel Meredith is a talented liar.
  • Daniel Meredith is a talented liar.
Daniel Meredith, a con man The Pitch wrote about in August 2012, was sentenced to 11 years in prison on Tuesday afternoon. Meredith told his victims fantastic lies to get them to invest in his schemes. His colorful scams included nonexistent land holdings in Bolivia, calls from former presidents, and a story of highjacking a plane carrying a safe that Bill Clinton sent him.

During sentencing, Assistant U.S. Prosecutor Dan Nelson and Assistant Missouri Attorney General Lauren Barrett said Meredith's criminal history shows that the only time in his life that he wasn't running a scam was when he was in prison. Meredith had told prosecutors that he used fraud to fuel his gambling addition. "There was never an investment, only another blackjack game," Barrett said. She added that Meredith had blown $555,000 on gambling between 2008 and 2011. Barrett said at least two victims had lost their homes because of investments with Meredith, and at least one had filed for bankruptcy.

Meredith, with close-cropped gray hair and goatee, sat in a navy-blue shirt and blue jeans as several victims told the court what his schemes had done to their lives. The son of Meredith's main victim, a man identified as J.D. in court papers, told Judge Brian C. Wimes that Meredith had preyed on his elderly father to get him to hand over his life savings. "In order for my father to be duped and defrauded, we suspect the intimidation was great," he said.

Later, the elderly wife of a deceased victim addressed the judge. The woman, who called Meredith 'Danny' throughout her address, said her husband wanted to invest in Meredith's Bolivian land in order to put poor Bolivians to work as farmers. "With all this stress, pain and anguish, I lost my husband in July," she said, breaking down. Meredith looked away from the victims frequently as they spoke, or closed his eyes and listened.

Another victim told Wimes that his bad investments with Meredith forced him to lose his two homes and his business. "I live in my parents' basement with my wife," the man said. "This is the time I should be taking care of them, not them taking care of me."

Nobody spoke to defend Meredith except himself. He turned toward the gallery and apologized directly to several of the victims, including the widow. His voice cracked, and he wiped away a tear. There were no sympathetic looks from the victims.

In addition to the 11 years, Wimes sentenced Meredith to three years of probation and restitution of $3,337,510.

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