Prosecutors recommend sentence for heavy-equipment fraud mastermind

bestep@herald-leader.comOctober 10, 2013 

Prosecutors will recommend up to 7½ years in prison for a New York man who admitted defrauding investors and a Kentucky bank out of more than $33 million.

Eilat Lev, who operated an Ardsley, N.Y., business called International Tractor Co., pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in London.

Lev represented himself as a heavy-equipment broker and induced investors to underwrite equipment purchases with the promise of significant profits, according to court documents.

However, Lev admitted that he used money from newer investors to pay prior investors. His plea agreement says he misappropriated the money.

Court documents say the scam cost eight investors and one bank, First Southern National in Somerset, a total of $33.7 million.

The investors were identified only by initial. One, L.H., lost $15.5 million, according to the plea document.

Lev faces a sentence of 78 to 97 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, but his plea deal said prosecutors would cap their recommendation at 90 months.

He is to be sentenced in February.

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