Miami Ponzi Scheme Allegations Require Experienced Defense

Four additional people are likely to be charged in a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme conducted by a former Fort Lauderdale attorney, The Miami Herald is reporting.

While the news seems to be filled with allegations of people conducting Ponzi schemes to rip off investors, these cases are very complex, often with thousands of pages of documents, multiple limited liability companies set up for investors and millions of dollars.

Because of their complexity, anyone accused of participating in an investor scheme should consult with a Miami criminal defense attorney who has spent years dedicated to these types of cases.

In the current case, federal sources told the newspaper another four people are likely to be charged in connection with a scheme led by a former attorney who was convicted last year. Three former employees of the attorney’s firm and another person are likely to be charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The attorney was arrested in 2009 and charged with selling fabricated legal settlements his firm was negotiating to wealthy investors. Last year, he was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Federal agents have been researching emails, financial statements and other records.

Florida Ponzi schemes are typically identified as criminal enterprises in which a person pays investors with new investors’ money. Usually, it involves the promise of a high return on investments and allows the perpetrator to pocket money that should go to investors.

As evidenced in the local case, the charges are punishable by decades in prison, depending on the amount of damage proven by prosecutors. The number of investors, amount of money involved and sophistication level of the scheme is are all factors considered.

But what the public often doesn’t understand from news reports is how difficult these cases are to prove. Without corroborating evidence from alleged co-conspirators, the government often has to spend months or years digging through boxes of documents searching for evidence if an investor makes a complaint. The defendant also gets to review that information and prepare a defense to the charges.

Considering how poorly the real estate market has recently fared and how investors across the board have lost millions of dollars in risky investments, it’s not uncommon for them to cry foul. Most of the time, they look at the person they sent their money to. False allegations are common in investment projects, so be well-represented.