ROCK ISLAND -- A judge has sentenced Quad City developer Todd Raufeisen to serve six years in prison after he pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.
Raufeisen appeared in federal court for sentencing on Thursday, September 14. Judge Sara Darrow ordered him to serve six years in a minimum-security camp, after which he will have three years of supervised release. He will self-report to the facility.
Upon release, Raufeisen must also make monthly payments of at least half his income in restitution toward his investors.
"I think it's appropriate," said Joseph Hudgins, an investor and longtime friend of Raufeisen. "My biggest hope is that when Todd gets out he rights his life, and I have every hope and trust that he will."
In May, Raufeisen admitted to defrauding 22 investors for a total loss of $1.7 million between 2010 and August 2016.
According to court documents, Raufeisen promised investors a higher rate of interest than conventional. He also promised investors the money would be placed in escrow until needed, would only be used for specific development projects, and if unused, the money would be returned. Instead, Raufeisen used the money for personal expenses and to repay previous investors.
Some investors received promissory notes that promised repayment, but Raufeisen also admitted to forging the signatures on the notes.
In court on Thursday, five victims described years of lies and excuses. Hudgins read a letter from his brother, Jim, who recounted the time Raufeisen claimed he was taking a family member to the Mayo Clinic, but instead headed to Australia on vacation.
"It's tough to be duped by any friend. I'm not the only one, and it's hard for people to come forward. So, I would just say that it's a gut punch," said Hudgins.
Another investor, Peter Mangieri, said he invested half a million dollars in Raufeisen's Gale Village project. He said none of the money was repaid, and he was forced to close his business as a result of the deal.
"He played me like a fiddle," said Mangieri.
Raufeisen has been involved in several business development projects in the Quad City area, including the failed Dock development in Davenport, Fyre Lake Golf Club in Sherrard, Case Creek Trails in Moline, and Gale Village in Galesburg.
In 2016, Moline aldermen voted to cut all ties with Raufeisen, locking him out of development agreements with the city until 2020.
In court, Raufeisen apologized to his family, as well as those who invested in his projects.
"The pain in my heart and soul will never go away," said Raufeisen.
Leaving the courthouse, he reiterated those remarks to members of the media.
"I am extremely sorry. I made mistakes. I took responsibility. I look forward to getting this behind me and moving on," said Raufeisen. "My plan is to repay my victims."
Raufeisen faced a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.