A Lake Havasu City man has been sentenced to more than 12 years in prison for an alleged Ponzi scheme that defrauded as many as 20 customers at his Industrial Boulevard boat consignment business.
Stephen P. LeProhon, 32, signed an agreement with Mohave County prosecutors in September, pleading guilty to one count of fraud in exchange for the dismissal of more than 30 additional counts including felony theft and theft of a motor vehicle. Under the terms of that agreement, LeProhon’s sentence may have been reduced to seven years of probation - if he were able to pay $125,000 in restitution to the court by Nov. 5. If he were unable to do so, LeProhon’s sentence would be given to the discretion of Mohave Superior Court Judge Billy Sipe.
LeProhon’s attorneys requested a continuance of Friday’s sentencing hearing, which Sipe denied.
Sipe issued the maximum 12.5-year sentence in LeProhon’s case on Friday, with 21 months of probation to be served upon his release. LeProhon has also been ordered to pay more than $395,000 in restitution to his alleged victims before that probation term is completed.
LeProhon’s arrest came in July 2019, after multiple felony complaints were brought against his business. According to police, LeProhon accepted large sums of money from boat owners in exchange for repairs and equipment installations that were allegedly never completed. Police say LeProhon accepted payment from customers in advance, in order to pay for service promised to others.
Court documents show that more than 20 customers were still awaiting services they had paid for, or the return of their money and vehicles, at the time of LeProhon’s arrest.
According to the police report, LeProhon may have used parts stolen from other customers’ watercraft to service those of others - and may also have failed to perform maintenance on other customers’ watercraft entirely. On one such occasion, police said LeProhon’s failure to perform the services for which he’d been paid led to a customer being stranded in his boat, with his family, on Lake Havasu when their engine broke down.
In another account by police, LeProhon may have sold a customer’s off-highway vehicle without its owner’s permission to a California buyer.
Steve Parish, who identified himself as an acquaintance of LeProhon’s for the past decade, expressed disdain for LeProhon’s alleged activities in an Oct. 12 letter to the judge.
“LeProhon has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from our community,” Parish wrote. “He has no remorse, and has never apologized. He is bragging to friends that he has been able to drag out his court hearings for over two years now, and that in the end he will have gotten away with it.”
According to Parish’s statements to the judge, LeProhon may still have access to much of the victims’ stolen money, which may be hidden in bank accounts under the names of friends and acquaintances.
This statement could not be confirmed through court records or statements as of Monday.
LeProhon now remains in custody at Mohave County Jail, where he awaits transportation to an Arizona state prison facility.