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Elderly former Cave Creek resident pleads guilty in $1.8M fraud scheme

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – An elderly former Valley resident faces up to two years behind bars after pleading guilty Wednesday to a federal money laundering charge, authorities said.

Kenneth Thomas White, a former Cave Creek resident also known as Kenneth Whyte, was charged with defrauding about a dozen investors out of nearly $2 million in a fraudulent oil well scheme, according to a press release from the Internal Revenue Service.

In February, White was indicted on 60 counts of wire fraud, seven counts of mail fraud and 10 counts of transactional money laundering.

He copped to one of the transactional money laundering in his plea deal. That crime carries a sentence of up to 10 years, but the plea agreement says he won’t have to serve more than 48 months because of his age and medical issues, which are not specified.

He was 79 years old when a memo relating to his detention was filed in May.

White also must reimburse his victims up to $1,368,000, according to the deal.

He was accused bilking investors out of approximately $1,850,000 by selling interested in fraudulent oil drilling projects in Montana and Texas, according to the release.

A U.S. District Court judge still has to approve the plea agreement. Sentencing was set for Dec. 2 in Phoenix.

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