The last man in a group of schemers who defrauded about 100 investors across the United States out of more than $10 million and have yet to pay most of it back will join his accomplices in prison.
Hayden Holland, 47, of Phoenix, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Maria del Mar on two counts each of fraudulent schemes and securities fraud and 12 years probation for his role with three other men who participated in the scam.
Holland who formerly co-owned Scottsdale Funding Financial Group, was accused of being the principal of two Panzi schemes that targeted the elderly and retirees in a scam that promised 10 to 15 percent returns on investments between 1999 and 2002. The scam also included attracting investors to buy stock in a bogus Costa Rican mining operation.
Holland's sentencing caused a mix of emotions among victims from the East Valley who lost their retirement nest eggs.
Patricia Weston of Gilbert believed Holland should have been given probation so he could continue to pay the money back and the group could benefit from an $800,000 piece of ocean front property Holland shared with a friend in southern Washington. Although the property was not in Holland's name, his business partner had offered to sign it over to Holland to pay off the debt. But the Attorney General's Office denied the request, according to Holland's attorney, Larry Debus.
"This case has been outrageous," said Weston, who cannot settle a friend's estate because he still is owed $25,000. "I think he should've been given probation because now, none of us will ever see any of the money. He's paying his attorney well - with our money - and when he gets out of prison, he'll continue spending our money somewhere else."
The case took more than three years for the Attorney General's Office to fully prosecute the men involved who were not registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission to deal in securities.
In June, Gregory Gill, 56, of Scottsdale - an ex-convict - who had been banned from working in the financial industry for defrauding investors in a wire fraud scheme in the late 1980s in California, was sentenced to 20 years for his role with Holland and also co-owned Martin and Griffin LLC.
Tad Ulrich, 43, of Phoenix, also was sentenced in June to five years in prison on two counts of securities fraud and Wallace Butterworth, 75, also of Phoenix, was sentenced to six months in jail and four years' probation on one count of the sale of unregistered securities.
The men were ordered to pay $10 million in restitution to the victims, which includes 95 percent of Arizona residents, but they have yet to pay $7.2 million, according to court records.
Dave Vargas, a retired engineer from Motorola and his wife, Helen, a retired nurse from Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital who live in Scottsdale, said they lost $352,000.
"That really hurts," Dave Vargas said during the hearing. "Eight years is enough for this to go on. Enough is enough."
Robert House of Tempe who lost thousands of dollars, said during the sentencing that he believed Holland should "rot in hell."
"My family has been damaged from this, and their family's have enriched themselves," House said. "If you look at Hayden Holland's resume, he's been a flim-flam artist for years.."
The case, which included dozens of Valley residents and many from the East Valley, was referred to the Attorney General's Office in 2005, according to court documents.
Holland, who was in del Mar's courtroom, broke down and cried and said: "I'll pay all those guys back if it's the last thing I ever do."
Holland had entered into a plea agreement in January to plead guilty and face probation if he paid back $400,000 to the victims he defrauded or face prison if he didn't.
Holland has paid $50,000 since January, and several of his sentencing dates were re-scheduled to give him more time to come up with the remaining $350,000.
However, Debus and those who spoke in support of Holland, said the bad economy two real estate deals that fell through has prevented Holland from paying anyone back.