A former Florida resident was sentenced to the maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison on Thursday for mail fraud in connection with a $30 million Ponzi scheme.
His original charges also included wire fraud and conspiracy, crimes that often get charged in conjunction with mail fraud cases.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, the Florida Attorney General’s Office and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The 48-year-old man was ordered to surrender $29.9 million, numerous computers and computer equipment purchased using earnings from the scheme.
According to authorities, the man received $30 million from more than 500 investors in Florida and throughout the United States by assuring them that they could earn 10 percent interest per month by trading in foreign currency through his company located in Pasco County.
The man supposedly only invested a small portion of the assets obtained, paid investors about $15 million of other investors’ money and spent millions of dollars on personal items for himself, friends and family. He allegedly leased high-end real estate in New York City, private jets, and bought luxury cars, clothing and jewelry.
The Florida Attorney General’s Office shut down the man’s former company in April 2010 and froze its assets after investigating a grievance against the company. During that time the man had a Gainesville address and supposedly went to school in the area.
He was arrested in New York City on Nov. 4, 2010 and indicted Dec. 1.
Mail fraud and wire fraud are broad terms used in any case involving theft by mail, by Internet, by electronic transfer, by phone or any other comparable scenario. The State must prove intent beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction for this white collar offense. A mail fraud or mail theft case revolves around several points:
• Did the accused actually plan to commit fraud?
• Did the accused willfully and intentionally create a plot to cheat another person or persons
out of money or property?
• Did the accused use the postal system in their scheme to defraud?
Prosecutors and investigators for fraud cases are aggressive in pursuing charges, which means your case can drag on for a lengthy time period. If convicted of mail fraud, the penalties include stiff fines or imprisonment for up to 20 years, possibly both. If the violation concerns a financial institution such as a bank, the fine can be elevated as high as $1,000,000 and imprisonment up to 30 years.
If you are at risk of being criminally investigated or charged with mail or wire fraud in the state of Florida, contact the Florida Mail Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton, LLC online or call our Gainesville office locally at 352-264-7800 or reach us statewide and toll-free at 1-866-608-5LAW (5529).