South Florida investment fraud scams abound; jeweler accused of $40 million Ponzi scheme

Bail has been set at $1 million for a Hialeah jeweler accused of federal criminal charges in Miami in connection with a $40 million ponzi scheme. The 39-year-old man surrendered to authorities and appeared before a U.S. magistrate, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Authorities allege he operated an investment scam that victimized 35 individuals, the Miami Herald reported.

As we continue to report on our Miami Criminal Attorney Blog,ponzi scams and investment schemes are surfacing throughout South Florida and across the nation. In many cases, the downturn in the economy helped uncover the scams as plummeting property values and stock portfolios resulted in exposure. But, as authorities have grown more aggressive in prosecuting alleged investment scams, an increasing number of defendants are being unfairly targeted for making bad real estate or stock investments.

In this case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleges that the defendant offered investors “no risk” loan agreements that promised annual returns to 18 to 120 percent. Investors thought the money was being used in his jewelry business or going to provide financing for pawnshops. Investigators allege he used fake diamonds to convince some investors that their money was safe.

In addition to six counts of securities fraud, the SEC has filed a lawsuit accusing him of breaking federal security laws. Authorities say he used the money on a $3.2 million home, $1 million of jewelry and lavish vacations.

As our Miami criminal defense lawyers have reported, a number of recent high-profile fraud cases have led to criminal charges in South Florida:

-The owner of a Miami computer company has been implicated in an investment fraud ring out of New York City. Click here for details.
-A man was sentenced to 50 years in prison in connection with a South Florida investment fraud scheme.
-Two Miami-area residents were sentenced to prison in connection with a $10 million South Florida real estate fraud scheme.
-A man was arrested on Florida computer fraud charges in connection with a mystery shopper scam.