SHERMAN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Two Texas men were sentenced to federal prison for an investment fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas.

Thurman Bryant, III, 46, of Frisco and Arthur Franz Wammel, 46, of Houston, were convicted by a jury on Apr. 3, 2019, of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and were sentenced to federal prison on Jan. 29, 2020 by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant. Bryant was sentenced to 240 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,103,088.12. Wammel was sentenced to 136 months in federal prison and was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,103,088.12.

“The defendants’ Ponzi scheme hurt people badly,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown. “Many of the victims were friends and family of these men, and the amount of loss was just tremendous. The length of their sentences reflect that.”

According to information presented in court, the defendants devised and executed an investment fraud scheme that claimed to earn investors a guaranteed minimum 30% annual return on investment. In addition, Bryant promised an investment that would be placed in a secure escrow account, when in fact the money was funneled to Wammel for securities trading and other purposes. Evidence at trial showed that the defendants separately spent money on personal expenses such as home leases, home improvements, car leases, expensive jewelry, and private school tuition, and that defendant Wammel spent a large amount of money on expenses related to a Rolls-Royce, a Ferrari and a Range Rover. Additional evidence showed that the investors contributed over $22 million to the scheme.

Bryant and Wammel were indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 13, 2017.

“Today’s sentencing sends a strong message to all white collar criminals. The FBI will thoroughly investigate and expose your fraud,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “Victims can rest assured that these individuals will be held accountable for their actions.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Field Office – Frisco Resident Agency and prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas.