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South Coast man convicted of stealing $14 million in fraud scheme, gets long prison sentence

 A Santa Barbara County man has been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death someone trying to break up a confrontation.
Bill Oxford
A Santa Barbara County man has been convicted of stealing more than $14 million in an elaborate investment fraud scheme.

Prosecutors say the Santa Barbara man used money collected for investments on things like luxury trips, and mortgage payments.

A Santa Barbara County man has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison after being convicted of stealing millions from people who thought they were investing in an insurance company.

Darrell Aviss entered guilty pleas to 21 felony counts in federal court, ranging from wire fraud to tax evasion. Prosecutors say he stole $14 million in a Ponzi scheme. One victim lost close to $10 million.

They say during an eight-year-long period, he convinced his victims they would make huge returns on investing money in annuities issued by Swiss insurance companies. But, he actually used the money on things like cars, watches, and lavish vacations.

In addition to the jail sentence, the man was order to pay more than $18 million in restitution.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.