Devon Archer, a former business partner of President Joe Biden's son, Hunter, was sentenced on Monday to just over a year in prison for defrauding a Native American tribe of $60 million in bonds.
Manhattan Judge Ronnie Abrams, an Obama appointee, sentenced Archer to one year and one day in federal prison for "defrauding a Native American tribal entity and various investment advisory clients" of more than $60 million. From March 2014 to April 2016, Archer worked with others on the scheme that caused the Wakpamni Lake Community Corporation, a tribal entity, to issue a series of tribal bonds through "lies and misrepresentations," the Department of Justice press release states.
Archer, who has maintained his innocence, was ordered to forfeit more than $15 million and pay over $43 million in restitution. He will also have one year of supervised release after prison.
“There’s no dispute about the harm caused to real people,” Abrams said, the New York Post reports. She also noted that the fraud was "too serious" to let him out without prison time and that the victims are part of one of the poorest tribes in the nation, the Oglala Sioux.
Prosecutors state that rather than investing the bonds in annuity, "significant amounts of the bond proceeds" went to support the defendants' business and personal interests, including a "financial services conglomerate, which [Archer] expected to control."
Matthew Schwartz, Archer's attorney, said that his client plans on appealing the conviction and sentence. Archer claims that he was taken advantage of by a powerful and corrupt businessman.
“He came under the influence of a person he trusted too much and didn’t ask enough questions,” Schwartz said, according to the Post.
Archer said he has "deep remorse for the victims of the crime" and he is sorry for the pain he has caused his family and friends.
"I was doing too many things at once and not paying enough attention," Archer said, the outlet reports.
Archer was convicted along with two other people in 2018 of "conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud" after a trial that lasted more than a month in front of Judge Abrams.
Abrams granted his request for a new trial following the conviction, but she was overruled by a federal appeals court, the Post reports.
Abrams reportedly said at his sentencing that Archer did not attempt to obstruct justice and was not the ringleader of the fraud scheme. She also said that he did not financially benefit from the fraud and even lost money on it, the outlet states.
Before being arrested, Archer served with Hunter Biden on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.
Biden has not been connected to the tribal fraud scheme that Archer was sentenced for.
A 2020 report from the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Senate Committee and the Senate Finance Committee shows Archer's close ties to the Biden family.
Archer is mentioned in the second paragraph of the report, 42 times total.
"On April 16, 2014, Vice President Biden met with his son’s business partner, Devon Archer, at the White House. Five days later, Vice President Biden visited Ukraine," the report states, adding that within a month both Archer and Hunter Biden were appointed to the Burisma board.
"Over the course of the next several years, Hunter Biden and Devon Archer were paid millions of dollars from a corrupt Ukrainian oligarch for their participation on the board," the 87-page report alleges.