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3 accused of running $364 million Ponzi scheme

Pennsylvania readers might be interested to learn that federal prosecutors have indicted three Maryland men for allegedly running a $364 million Ponzi scheme for several years. The defendants were taken into custody on Sept. 18.

According to prosecutors, the defendants persuaded people to invest in consumer debt portfolios, which are collections of defaulted bank, credit card, student loan and auto loan debts. The trio allegedly told the investors that, after buying the portfolios, they would sell them to third-party debt buyers, turning a profit. Instead, they are accused of taking over $70 million of the investors' money over a five-year period and using it to fund lives of luxury. Some of the high-end items they reportedly purchased include cars, boats, jewelry, a share of a jet airplane and expensive homes in Florida, Maryland, Nevada and Texas. In addition, they allegedly gambled $25 million of the money at casinos.

Two of the defendants have been charged with wire fraud and money laundering, which each carry 20-year sentences. They have been additionally charged with identity theft, which carries a two-year sentence. The third defendant faces less serious charges, but he could still be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. If found guilty, all three defendants could be forced to forfeit homes, vehicles and luxury items allegedly purchased with profits from the scheme.

If convicted, individuals charged with fraud could face decades in prison, heavy fines and the forfeiture of personal property. However, defendants might be able to obtain a better outcome by contacting a criminal defense attorney for help. An attorney could review the evidence and work to undermine the prosecution's case, which could cause the charges to be reduced or dismissed.

Source: NBC News, "Three men charged with alleged $364 million Ponzi scheme in Maryland", Adiel Kaplan, Sept. 19, 2018

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