SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court in San Francisco upheld the 22-year prison sentence and fraud convictions of Ecast founder Samuel "Mouli" Cohen, who was found guilty of a $30 million investment scam. Actor Danny Glover and the now-defunct Vanguard Public Foundation are among Cohen's victims.
A jury in April 2012 convicted Cohen, 55, of 29 counts of fraud, money laundering and tax evasion, and he was ordered by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer to repay his victims $29.7 million in restitution, including $2,758,221 to Glover. The judge handed down what is said to be one of the harshest sentences in a white-collar criminal case. | SEE STORY
In late August, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Breyer's loss calculations. The court said the judge correctly allowed evidence of Cohen's lavish lifestyle to support assertions that he did not intend to reimburse investors, and upheld his decision to lengthen Cohen's sentence for exploiting his victims' "charitable impulses" to fund worthy causes.
Cohen falsely told investors that his company, Ecast, a digital jukebox music provider, was about to be acquired by Microsoft Corp. and would be able to exchange its shares for lucrative Microsoft stock.
The losses contributed to the collapse of Vanguard, a San Francisco nonprofit that funded civil rights, environmental and antiwar causes. Glover once chaired the foundation and was recruited as an investor by Cohen in 2002.