A U.S. expat, guilty of one of those telephone business opportunity scams, has been ordered to pay $6.4 million in restitution. That is in addition to a prison sentence of 70 months and five years supervised release.
The man is Gregory Scott Garrett, who worked with USA Beverages Inc., Twin Peaks Gourmet Coffee, Inc., and a string of other companies that took money from U.S. citizens with the promise that they would be able to start a vending business.
He is known locally as John White. He has a family in Costa Rica.
Garrett and his lawyer, Arcelio Hern·ndez, waged a lengthy and unsuccessful fight to avoid extradition to the United States.
He even sought refugee status here without success.
White was indicted by a federal grand jury in Miami on Nov. 29, 2011, arrested in Costa Rica in 2012, extradited to the United States in 2015 and pleaded guilty April 29 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with the business opportunity scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Garrett admitted that the conspiracy used various means to make it appear to potential purchasers that the businesses were located entirely in the United States, the department said. The companies used bank accounts, office space and other services in the Southern District of Florida and elsewhere. In reality, White and his co-conspirators operated out of call centers in Costa Rica, including Escaz™.
Nine of those other defendants have been convicted in the United States with sentences ranging from three to 16 years in prison, and the two remaining defendants are not yet in the custody of the United States, the Justice Department said.