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California man admits to running $24 million Ponzi scheme

A California man charged with running a real estate Ponzi scheme last fall pleaded guilty. He was apprehended in Las Vegas in 2017 and charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. In court this week, he admitted to operating a Ponzi scheme and defrauding investors out of $24 million dollars.

Taking money under false pretences

The individual ran a real estate business out of Clovis, California. He admitted to using falsified documents to promote properties to investors. Some of the properties marketed to investors did not really exist and others were misrepresented to obscure who actually owned the properties.

According to court documents, he convinced real estate investors to give him money which was purported to be used for purchasing and selling more properties in order to generate more money. However, the individual admitted to using investor funds to gamble and cover personal expenses. In order to fund the scam, the individual used money from new investors to generate returns for older investors.

Federal charges have serious consequences

The individual agreed to pay restitution and pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, all of which are federal crimes. He faces 20 years in prison for the mail and wire fraud charges and 10 years in prison for the money laundering charge, in addition to a $250,000 fine. Additionally, he agreed to forfeit assets nearing $731,000.

Federal crimes have serious ramifications, whether an individual attempts to fight the charges or make a plea bargain. When a case goes to trial the prosecution must prove an individual's guilt, but plea bargaining may result in a lesser charge and punishment. Both options have potential negative consequences, but an attorney will pursue the most advantageous course of action.

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