Anchorage man accused of massive Ponzi-like scheme sentenced to 10 years
Garrett Elder will not report to federal prison for about 6 weeks
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage man accused of defrauding people out of millions in a Ponzi-like scheme was in court Monday for the second day of his sentencing hearing.
Garrett Elder was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Prosecutors had recommended 87 months as part of a plea deal reached with Elder. Elder’s attorney asked for 60 months.
But Federal Judge Joshua Kindred noted in his sentencing comments that Elder “preyed on people closest” to him.
Elder addressed the court, and his victims, prior to sentencing.
“I am here to be judged for my wrongful actions. You trusted me. I betrayed your trust time and time again,” Elder said.
Elder scammed at least 177 victims out of millions of dollars between 2016 and 2022, according to authorities with the United States Department of Justice and the Alaska Division of Banking and Securities.
Elder ran Tycoon Trading, LLC and Daily Bread Fund, LLC from a location on Old Seward Highway.
Through those businesses, Elder took $30 million, authorities said. Most of those investors were located in Alaska. Authorities say Elder lost about $26 million of that money.
Part of his sentence includes paying back as much of that lost money as possible when he gets out of prison.
Mike Tittle and his wife lost their retirement savings in the scam. He says he has mixed feelings about the 10-year sentence.
“I am conflicted. I don’t know that I understand justice in the way that the court system does. Justice is, he owes my family and several others $30 million. That’s justice, not here’s a spanking. I absolutely am conflicted over that. But I also understand that it’s not really the court’s view that we should be all made whole. They’re just here to deliver discipline,” Tittle said.
U.S. Attorney for Alaska S. Lane Tucker said she understands the sentence will not satisfy all the victims.
“We understand that many of you will never fully recover from Mr. Elder’s actions. But we hope his stiff sentence deters him and other white-collar criminals from committing similar despicable actions in the future,” Tucker said.
Michael Heyman prosecuted the Elder case. Despite the judge sentencing Elder to more time than the prosecution recommended, Heyman said the U.S. Attorney’s Office considers the case a success.
“We’re pleased with the outcome of the process. I wouldn’t characterize it as putting aside the recommendation, the government’s recommendation is one component. And we are required to comply with the law. And what we did was we looked at the variety of circumstances that were involved in the case. And remember, when we start, we have to remember whether it’s three years, five years or above the government’s recommendation, we’re talking about many, many years in prison,” Heyman said.
A court filing showed that Elder used some of the money to buy a camper, boat, vehicles, bicycles, tools, jewelry and real estate.
Elder changed his plea in May from not guilty to guilty.
Judge Kindred said last week he would consider a longer sentence based on the emotional and detailed victim impact statements during the first day of the sentencing hearing.
Elder left the courtroom accompanied by federal marshals. But after some paperwork, he was again released and the U.S. Attorney says he will have about six weeks free before turning himself in to serve his federal sentence.
Anyone wishing to leave a tip about a potential white-collar crime is urged to go to the FBI’s website, fbi.gov
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