A Plymouth man has been sentenced to six years in prison for concocting an investment scheme that cheated his neighbor out of more than $266,000, allowing him to buy a BMW, a $10,000 hot tub and jewelry and fund other personal expenses.
The scheme was carried out by Jay D. Low while he was awaiting trial in an unrelated $400,000 embezzlement case that was filed against him in 2015.
Low's sentence Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis includes that he be on supervised release for three years and make restitution to his victim of $266,737.
"Trusting a friend turned out to be my biggest nightmare," the neighbor, a divorced mother of four children, wrote in her victim impact statement to the court. "I was embarrassed and absolutely heartbroken. I am normally a very outgoing person and have always had a lot of friends. That is no longer something that describes me. I no longer trust anyone."
She went on to say that Low "totally took advantage of me being a single mom. He stalked me. ... He was always over at my house. Even when I wasn't home. He would just walk in."
The financial upheaval forced her to sell her pickup truck, left her unable to help her children with college expenses and "it even took me three years to straighten out my taxes with both the IRS and the Minnesota Revenue," her statement noted.
She also moved so as not to have to "look across the street at the house where [Low and his wife] lived," the woman wrote. "Nothing but bad memories at that house."
Low's defense acknowledged in a filing before sentencing that their client has "no excuse" for exploiting his neighbor and "wanted his family to have nice, expensive things."
According to Low's guilty plea and documents filed in court: From September 2014 to April 2016, the woman provided Low with her life savings, believing the money would be invested in a pharmaceutical company for a potential return of somewhere between $500,000 to $1.2 million.
In fact, Low created authentic-looking documents that he periodically provided to the woman in order to make his sham investment appear legitimate.
Low then used her money to pay $11,000 to the University of Minnesota toward his son's tuition, and to buy a BMW, a $10,000 hot tub and jewelry, and a $5,000 payment to his defense attorney in connection with the earlier fraud case.
In that other case, Low pleaded guilty in September 2015 to mail fraud for cheating his employer out of $418,000 through a false invoice scheme. He began serving a sentence of nearly four years in prison starting in April 2016.