Utah Investors Lose Big in Canned Sandwich Scheme

     A Utah man who promised investors returns of up to 24 percent on real estate is facing a lawsuit after he took $145 million of investor's money and instead put it other places, including "Candwiches", a sandwich-in-a-can product.

     Travis L. Wright of Draper is facing a lawsuit from the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.  The litigation release accuses Wright of assuring investors "that their funds would be used only to make loans secured by commercial real estate, when in fact he used their funds primarily for loans and investments having nothing to do with real estate."

     In addition, the document states that "he was using investor funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle for himself and his friends and family."

     Wright's companies, under the collective name of Waterford Funding, also worked on products such as Pepperoni Pizza Pocket and French-toast-in-a-can, all which were intended to be sold in vending machines.  Candwiches were to be marketed as "the perfect product for people on the go," that had "a long shelf life perfect for emergency food storage needs in the event of natural disasters".  Wright also invested in a company he co-owned with his brother to distribute a movie about a cub scout Pinewood Derby.

     The SEC also claims that Wright spent $15 million on trips to at least 12 countries, home and landscape  upgrades, and up to $20,000 a month spent by his wife as "discretionary spending money".

     Some observers comment that fraud like this are all too common in the Beehive state.

     "Utah has long endured a reputation as a place where many people are naïve or trusting to the point of losing their shirts," said Michael E. Hines, the director of enforcement at the Utah Division of Securities to the New York Times.

     Although Wright will have a hard time defending most of his fraud in the upcoming lawsuit, he might be able to stand by the candwich idea.  Mark Kirkland, president of Mark One Foods Corp, the company that patented the sandwich-in-a-can, says he believes that the product will eventually sell and he hoped they would go to production later this year.

     For the 175 investors that invested with Waterford Funding, let's hope so.


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