Robert Barnes, attorney for Sarasota resident Beau Diamond, has appealed his client’s conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. As a result of a Ponzi scheme where he defrauded nearly 200 investors by convincing them they were trading in foreign currency, Diamond was convicted on 18 felony counts. On December 22, Judge James Moody of Tampa sentenced Diamond to 15 ½ years in prison, as well ordering him to pay $23 million in restitution.
While Barnes has maintained his client received an unfair trial throughout the litigation, Judge Moody actually did not sentence Diamond to the 22-year prison sentence recommended by the prosecution. Judge Moody reduced the sentence to 15 ½ years because he did agree with the prosecution’s argument that Diamond abused the trust of in investors. Instead, Judge Moody found that many of Diamond’s clients chose his services because they trusted his father.