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April 17, 2014

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Developer sentenced to prison for bilking investors of $2 million

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Jean Marc Eljwaidi, right, appears in court with attorney Steven Wolfson at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Jan. 21, 2010.

A Las Vegas developer must serve a 21-month federal prison sentence for enticing investors to give him money for a real estate project that never materialized, officials said.

Jean Marc Eljwaidi, 44, pleaded guilty in November to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan sentenced Eljwaidi on Monday.

Eljwaidi obtained nearly $2 million from investors to fund a commercial real estate project near Interstate 215 and Russell Road, the U.S. attorney's office said. The enticement of funds occurred from November 2008 to June 2009.

Eljwaidi, however, knew in November 2008 the project could not be completed, officials said. Even so, he provided investors with promissory notes acknowledging their funds would be used to develop the project. In return, Eljwaidi told them he would return their investments in a few months with profits from 25 to 75 percent on their stake, officials said.

But Eljwaidi used the funds for personal expenses and to pay extension fees to keep the land from foreclosure, officials said.

Eljwaidi delayed repayment by soliciting more money from investors, repaying them with nominal amounts or avoiding them, officials said.

As a result, the victim investors lost about $1.8 million, officials said.

Eljwaidi must self-report to federal prison by June 3, the judge ordered.

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