Businessman faces 6 years in prison for big fraud

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A West Des Moines businessman has been sentenced to 6 years in prison for a multi-million-dollar fraud scheme that prosecutors say bankrupted a company, cost 20 people their jobs and ripped off his customers.

U.S. District Judge James Gritzner imposed the 70-month prison sentence Wednesday for Clarence Allen Rice, owner of C & J Leasing Corp.

A jury found Rice guilty of wire fraud in June. Prosecutors say he embezzled millions from business partner Frontier Leasing Corp. between 2003 and 2006 to address his company’s cash flow problems after he lost $800,000 day trading.

Prosecutors say the scheme drove Frontier and its 20 employees out of business. What’s more, Rice used his customers’ security deposits to fund his business and did not pay them back when their leases were up.