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Man sentenced to federal prison for fraud targeting ex-wife’s family and friends

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — A Portland man was sentenced to federal prison Monday for two separate fraud schemes that targeted his ex-wife’s family and his own friends, resulting in losses exceeding $650,000.

Joseph D. Galvan, 46, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison and 3 years’ supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $658,060.39 in restitution.

According to court documents, between January 2018 and August 2020, Galvan devised a scheme to defraud his ex-wife’s family and friends. Most of them had emigrated to the U.S. from Romania or were of Romanian descent.

Galvan posed as an investment trader and promised his victims he would invest their money and help them achieve financial security and retire early to live a good life. He also promised to teach his victims, many of whom were elderly and spoke English as a second language, how to successfully navigate the stock market.

Once victims transferred their funds in an account controlled by Galvan, he failed to open accounts on their behalf as promised. He then used an app called StockMaster to create false investment profile accounts for each victim and would periodically send them fake screen shots of their profiles. Galvan subsequently spent victims’ money on various personal expenses including rent, car payments, travel, dining, food, guns, and voluntary cosmetic procedures. Total losses incurred by these victims exceeded $518,000, which, for many, made up their life savings.

During this same time, Galvan engaged in a separate scheme targeting his own family and friends. In July 2019, he told a victim he had purchased a house in Lake Oswego for $900,000, despite the home being worth approximately $2 million. He further told the victim that he sued the owners of the house after they refused to leave. According to Galvan, a court judgment allegedly required the owners to pay him a large settlement that was placed into an escrow account. Galvan falsely claimed the settlement had grown in escrow to $1 million, but that the court would not release the funds until certain conditions with Galvan’s bank account were met.

Galvan convinced the victim to pay for various fees and costs associated with the house purchase while he awaited the settlement funds. Galvan told the victim he would pay him $250,000 if the victim agreed to provide these funds. Galvan also promised to pay the victim an additional $100,000 every time the victim provided more funds toward house purchase expenses. Galvan encouraged the victim to convey a similar offer to several of the victim’s relatives and a family friend. Based on Galvan’s false promises, the victim and several others paid him more than $130,000. In reality, Galvan had never purchased a home in Lake Oswego and there were no settlement funds in escrow.

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