By Robert Patrick, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

June 25--ST. LOUIS -- Federal prosecutors on Wednesday accused a Wentzville man of defrauding investors with promises of guaranteed returns and lining his own pockets with more than $570,000 in commissions.

James Staley, 39, ran Wealth Financial International and was also a sales agent for a California company named B & B Equity.

Staley sought out investors to "provide loans for life insurance policies," prosecutors said. In many cases, money from multiple investors was bundled to buy one life insurance policy. Staley told investors that the bundled life insurance policies would be sold on the open market, prosecutors said, but didn't tell them that if the policies couldn't be sold, investors would lose their money.

In all, Staley convinced 11 people to invest $3.4 million with B & B, prosecutors said, earning himself over $570,000 in commissions.

Staley was indicted May 24, and a superseding indictment was filed June 18 that charged him with three felony counts of wire fraud. The case was sealed until his arrest Tuesday.

His lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Robert Patrick covers federal courts and federal law enforcement for the Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter: @rxpatrick.


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