Although most people nationwide, including Michigan, know to steer clear of Ponzi schemes, there are frequent reports of people losing millions after investing their money with the hopes to getting high returns. A federal indictment that was unsealed recently alleges that three men committed white collar crimes by posing as pastors and convincing people in their congregations to invest millions of dollars. Facing charges for white-collar-crimes is serious, and the alleged fraudsters will likely seek skilled legal counsel.
According to the indictments, three men, ages 35, 40 and 61, ran the alleged Ponzi scheme. The charges against them include money laundering, securities fraud and wire fraud, involving money raised from about 1,200 investors. They allegedly pretended to further God’s mission through their sermons by helping the causes of religious charities. However, federal investigators claim they used the investors’ money to maintain their lifestyles and fund private jets, luxury cars and vacations. The funds were also used to pay other investors.
Court documents show that the youngest of the three men owned an investment company, and the other two filled the roles of chief marketing and chief operating officers. It is alleged that investors were persuaded to pay with cash, checks and wire transfers for guaranteed returns of 6% to 35% on their investments. The investors believed their money would be invested in cryptocurrency and foreign exchange.
According to the indictment, the victims of this Ponzi scheme lost over $28 million. Anyone accused of fraudulent activities in Michigan will undoubtedly retain an attorney with extensive experience in defending white collar crimes. Convictions of white collar crimes at the federal level frequently include incarceration. Sometimes, the circumstances are such that the attorney may negotiate a plea agreement that provides restitution or forfeiting assets and a reduced sentence.