The owner of a Salt Lake City vehicle sales and leasing business has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

Dennis T. Wynn, 52, appeared in U.S. District Court on Nov. 1 to enter his plea. Wynn was indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of mail and securities fraud, stemming from a scheme that bilked at least 185 investors out of more than $15 million.

According to the indictment, Wynn approached people from Arizona, California and Idaho to invest in his Utah-based Wynn Company, which leased and sold used vehicles to high-credit-risk customers.

The indictment states Wynn employed investor recruiters and held seminars to get people to sign on. Wynn allegedly told investors their investments would be monitored in a third-party escrow account and would be secured by property valued at 150 percent of the investment. Prosecutors say those claims were untrue and that those charged with holding the investment funds were not bonded escrow agents.

In court, Wynn admitted to recruiting investors between 1990 and 2002, and that he had promised that their initial investment capital, plus fixed interest payments, would be returned, but that many investors did not get their money back.

When sentenced on Jan. 29, Wynn faces up to five years in federal prison.

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