Wentzville man pleads guilty to investment fraud

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James Staley leaves the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse on Thursday afternoon, April 30, 2015, after pleading guilty to defrauding investors out of $500,000 in an investment scheme. (Photo by J.B. Forbes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

ST. LOUIS (AP) – An eastern Missouri man has pleaded guilty to fraud charges for pocketing $570,000 after defrauding investors.

Forty-year-old James Staley faces sentencing July 29 after pleading guilty in federal court on Thursday.

Staley, of Wentzville, ran Wealth Financial International and was a sales agent for a California company called B&B Equity. Federal prosecutors say he promised guaranteed returns that he couldn’t back up. All told, 16 people invested $3.3 million.

It wasn’t immediately clear how much money the investors lost.