URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: Triton Financial’s Kurt Barton Found Guilty In Ponzi Scheme That Defrauded People Of Faith, Football Stars, Family Members; Now-Convicted Fraudster May Face Life In Prison; ‘The Con Man Can Be As Brutal As Any Armed Robber,’ FBI Agent Says

URGENT >> BULLETIN >> MOVING: A jury in Texas has returned dozens of guilty verdicts against Kurt Branham Barton in the Triton Financial LLC case.

Barton, 44, potentially faces life in prison after being convicted of 17 counts of money laundering, 15 counts of wire fraud, five counts of making false loan statements, one count of securities fraud and one  count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, professional football players, family members and business leaders were among the victims.

David Akers, a kicker for the San Francisco 49ers, reportedly lost $3.7 million. Ty Detmer, a former Heisman Trophy winner and friend of Barton’s, entrusted more than $1.2 million to him.

Professional athletes, including Detmer, worked as Triton pitchmen, giving the $50 million, affinity- fraud scheme an air of legitimacy. In 2009, a woman allegedly angry at Barton for scamming her got drunk on wine and took a gun to Triton headquarters to demand a refund.

U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy said greed was the driving force of the scheme, which affected more than 300 investors.

“It is regrettable that selfish, greedy individuals devise schemes to make themselves rich by victimizing honest and innocent people, often depriving the victims of their life savings,” Murphy said. “These con artists are usually very accomplished salesmen taking advantage of trusting investors, who unfortunately will never be made whole again.”

A veteran FBI agent said the scheme was akin to an armed robbery, even though no gun was used to separate victims from their money.

“The financial assault of Barton’s elaborate scheme has been as devastating to his victims as any physical robbery,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Cory B. Nelson. “No matter the complexity of the scheme, the con man can be as brutal as any armed robber.”

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting tonight that Barton was led from the courtroom in shackles after the guilty verdicts were returned and a defense bid to let Barton remain free until his November sentencing date failed.

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