Kiley, 75, had attracted 70% of the investors through his former radio program, “Follow the Money,” which was broadcast on WWCR shortwave and bought time on some 200 stations at its peak. He appealed mostly to conservative listeners and retirees with a pitch that fomented distrust of the government and fanned fears about the tanking stock market.
But the investment product Kiley sold was a sham created by his longtime sidekick Trevor Cook, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to the scheme. Several other participants in the scheme were sentenced in January to terms ranging from 7½ years to 30 years in prison, said The Minneapolis Star-Tribune story.
Kiley has protested his innocence all along, claiming he was duped just like the investors. He managed to delay his sentencing in January when he accused his attorney at the time of misconduct and ineffective assistance. Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis delayed the sentencing, appointed new attorneys to represent Kiley and ordered an independent psychiatric and physical evaluation.
Kiley appeared in court Monday and told Judge Davis that what he once believed about Cook’s investment product turned out to be wrong, adding that he was prepared to take his punishment.
Kiley’s attorney John Lindquist, said Kiley is remorseful and aware of the seriousness of his crimes. But he asked for leniency, noting Kiley’s age, the fact that he has recurrent prostate cancer and a tumor on his bladder that has not yet been biopsied.
“Any sentence carries the very real potentiality that it might be a life sentence for Mr. Kiley,” Lindquist said.
He cited a psychiatric evaluation that found that Kiley’s mother had “routinely beat” him, rendering him “an adult survivor of traumatic physical, emotional, verbal abuse and neglect” and contributed to him becoming “compliant, conciliatory and placating” as an adult.
“He played a subservient role even as the millions were pouring in. He went with the flow,” Linquist said. “It’s not a defense at all,” he acknowledged, but it should be considered as a factor in his sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Perzel then read three letters from investors and one from Kiley’s brother, Michael O’Brien, urging a harsh sentence.
O’Brien said his brother’s claims of abuse are a “total fabrication.” He said he and his five siblings were disciplined by their parents but only when they deserved it.