A former business partner of Hunter Biden was sentenced Monday to more
than a year in prison for his role in a scheme to defraud a Native
American tribe of some $60 million in bonds.
The defendant, Devon Archer, was sentenced to one year and one day in
federal prison by Manhattan Judge Ronnie Abrams, who said the crime was
“too serious” to let him just walk.
“There’s no dispute about the harm caused to real people,” Abrams said,
noting that the defrauded tribe, the Oglala Sioux, is one of the poorest
in the nation.
Archer will also have to pay more than $15 million in forfeiture by
himself and more than $43 million in restitution with his co-defendants in
The convicted fraudster has maintained his innocence and intends to appeal
the conviction and sentence, his attorney, Matthew Schwartz, said in court
In brief statements to Abrams just before Archer was sentenced, he and
Schwartz claimed he was taken advantage of by corrupt businessmen who
wanted to use him in the scheme.
“He came under the influence of a person he trusted too much and didn’t
ask enough questions,” Schwartz said.
Archer, his voice quivering at times, said it was “nothing less than
surreal” that he had been convicted and was facing a prison sentence
“I was doing too many things at once and not paying enough attention,”
Archer said of his involvement in the fraud.
“I have deep remorse for the victims of the crime,” he said, adding that
he was also distraught about the pain he had caused his friends and
“I’m most sorry for my family and what I’ve put them through,” he said.
Prior to his arrest, Archer served with Hunter Biden on the board of
Burisma Holdings, a Ukraine-based energy company.
In a sentencing memo filed earlier this month, Schwartz argued that Archer
provided “real value” to Burisma during his time on the board — but he
resigned after his arrest in the case in 2016.
Biden had no connection to the fraud scheme Archer was sentenced for
Archer was convicted by a jury of conspiracy to commit securities fraud
and securities fraud after a trial in 2018.
Prosecutors charged that Archer and his co-defendants bought more than $60
million in bonds from the Oglala Sioux, but instead of using them for
annuity, they used them to “build a financial services mega-company.”
“Archer became a key player in the scheme, anticipating that, when the
scheme succeeded, he would helm the resulting conglomerate and,
ultimately, reap massive profits from its sale,” prosecutors wrote in a
sentencing memo earlier this month.
After his conviction, Abrams granted Archer’s request for a new trial, but
her decision was overruled by a federal appeals court and the conviction
At his sentencing, Abrams acknowledged Archer was not the leader of the
scheme and did not attempt to obstruct justice, as a number of his co-
Archer did not benefit financially from the fraud — and even lost cash
because of it, Abrams said.
Schwartz asked Abrams that Archer be able to remain free pending appeal,
which the judge said she would rule on after the defense and prosecution
submit briefs on the request.
An attorney for Biden did not return a request for comment.
“Mr. Archer is obviously disappointed with today’s sentence, and intends
to appeal. It is unfortunate that the judge, who has previously expressed
concern that Mr. Archer is innocent of the crimes charged and reiterated
that belief today, felt that she was constrained not to act on her
independent assessment of the evidence,” Schwartz said in a statement
after the sentencing.
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