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Man gets 30 years for fraud, attempted murder-for-hire

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 60-year-old Jacksonville man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 years in prison for wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, attempting to murder a government witness and murder-for-hire.

In addition to his prison term, Paul Kruse was sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to pay a money judgment of $897,960, which represents the net proceeds of the charged criminal conduct.

Kruse was found guilty by a federal jury in Jacksonville in February.

According to court documents, beginning in 2010, Kruse and his brother conspired to recruit and defraud a number of clients to whom they provided financial advisory services. As part of the scheme, Kruse established a sham investment firm called Yorkshire Financial Services.

He and his brother convinced their clients, a number of whom were retirees, to move their savings to Yorkshire. Kruse and his brother deceptively told clients that Yorkshire had been in business for more than 30 years, had a staff of experienced securities traders, and traded in a combination of stocks, bonds and currencies appropriate for individual retirement accounts.

In reality, Kruse did not invest the investors' funds. Rather, he spent the investors' money on luxury cars, home improvements and personal items and made hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash withdrawals. As a result of the scheme, Kruse stole $931,844 from 21 victims.

In 2011, Kruse hired a personal assistant who witnessed Kruse's conduct. The assistant reported Kruse's conduct to the FBI, and the Yorkshire scam unraveled shortly thereafter.

In 2012, Kruse's co-conspirator brother committed suicide. Subsequently, while Kruse was being held in pretrial detention, Kruse hired hit men to murder his former personal assistant, who was scheduled to be a government witness. Kruse stated that he wanted the former assistant killed to both prevent her from testifying and avenge his brother's death. Kruse also hired the hit men to rob and kill two former business partners, who Kruse contended had cheated him. Unbeknown to Kruse, the hit men were undercover federal agents.