FORT SMITH (KFSM) — A Fort Smith man who faced several charges of money laundering, fraud, embezzlement and theft was sentenced in federal court on Wednesday (June 28). William Moates, Jr. pleaded guilty to the counts against him in the fall of 2016.
Moates will spend the next 12 and a half years in prison. Judge P.K. Holmes also sentenced him to pay his 25 victims a total of $5.7 million in restitution.
“I was hoping for a longer sentence, but it is what it is,” victim Andrea Satchwell said.
Andrea and her husband Dean Satchwell said they met Moates at church in Colorado. The couple lost their retirement savings after trusting Moates to invest it properly.
“I know restitution is part of his sentence,” Andrea Satchwell said. “I don't count on that. I let that go a long time ago.”
They trusted Moates to manage their finances for 14 years. On the same day Dean found out he lost his job, he got a call from one of Moates’ employees telling him the hundreds of thousands of dollars he invested was gone. Dean said that day, everything "vanished in thin air". The Satchwell’s decided to travel from Fort Smith to Dallas to read their impact statements. They have not seen or talked to Moates since this happened in 2012.
“It was a blessing to me to hear from so many other people and how they were affected, so we weren't alone in this thing,” Dean Satchwell said.
Federal investigators said Moates pocketed approximately $2 million of investors’ money and spent it on vacations, remodeling his home, jewelry, credit card payments and other personal expenses. The rest of the money is believed to have gone back to various businesses, but the FBI said they didn't get all of Moates' credit card statements.
Judge Holmes gave Moates an opportunity to speak after his defense counsel Rex Chronister gave his closing statements.
Moates got emotional saying in part: “I’m not stepping away from my responsibility. I have been apologizing for the past two years. I have no wealth or assets. My family is also financially ruined because of my decisions. I am sorry.”
The Satchwell’s said they weren’t buying that Moates’ tears were sincere.
“Crocodile tears,” Andrea said. “It was meaningless,” Dean said.
Moates is due back in court Aug. 14 to be incarcerated. His attorney said he has a medical condition and is having surgery Thursday (June 29).
During past years, Moates owned several local businesses including Trilennium Financial Alliance and its investment company T3Vest. At one time, he also owned Blazin' Burrito, but sold the business to new owners about two years ago.
A forensic accountant with the FBI testified Wednesday. He determined Moates stole $1.4 million from Trilennium and approximately $639,000 from clients who secured their investments with T3Vest. All of this was used for personal expenses.
The scheme took place between 2010 and January 2015.