Miami Businessman Sentenced to 20 Years for Ponzi Scheme That Cost Investors $82 million

A Miami businessman was recently sentenced to 20 years in prison in New Jersey for orchestrating a $930 million Ponzi scheme that cost investors $82 million, The Star-Ledger reports.

Miami White Collar Crimes Attorneys have seen many businessmen and investment bankers prosecuted for Ponzi schemes and other white-collar crimes in the last several years as the economy has worsened. And while some are convicted, others avoid conviction and charges based on the sufficiency of the governments proof. While the headlines are filled with charges and convictions, an experienced defense lawyer can work behind the scenes to keep clients out of trouble and out of jail.

Being charged with orchestrating a Ponzi scheme in Miami or elsewhere requires an aggressive criminal defense firm that has spent years working on these kinds of cases. As proven in this case, Ponzi schemes are taken seriously by judges and are usually punished by decades in prison.

According to the news article, the defendant falsified documents for five years and fooled 62 investors into squandering millions on a purported wholesale grocery-distribution business. He used his Miami-based business, Capitol Investments USA, Inc., as a criminal vehicle to net him $35 million. Some of his victims lived in New Jersey.

He plead guilty last year to one count of securities fraud and one count of money laundering. He admitted that the company had no income-generating business and that it simply used new investor funds to pay off older investors. He promised investor returns of up to 26 percent through the buying and reselling of wholesale groceries.

While sentencing guidelines — a calculation of the crime, the damage to victims, the defendant’s criminal history and other factors — called for a 210-month sentence on the high end, the judge sentenced him to an additional 30 months for an even 20 years in prison.

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.
And these types of charges are typically prosecuted in federal court, which allows for the government to seek long-term prison sentences. In some cases, they can stretch out for years or decades, as seen in this case.

But while these cases get much news media attention, the public may not realize how complex these are for the government to prove. These cases require months of studying detailed financial records, interviewing witnesses and trying to determine if crimes are committed.

And it seems more now than ever before these cases are popping up. That may be because the economy is down and people are complaining about investment projects that don’t work out. Sometimes, investors who lose money are just bitter and nothing illegal happened. It’s possible that the market ruined a project and that the leader of the investment group did nothing wrong. Because of the possibility of false allegations, it is important for people charged with white collar crime in Miami to be well-represented by an experienced criminal defense law firm.