Accused of Ponzi Scheme
Donald R. French Jr. a resident of Rome who lives in Boca Raton and attended Florida Atlantic University, is facing federal wire fraud charges. He was charged last week by information, an indication that he is now working with investigators (source).
It was a “classic ponzi scheme,” an FBI agent wrote in a criminal complaint outlining French’s business.
He was arrested this past September while on one of his Vegas trips, court documents show.
French raised about $10 million from about 50 investors from Florida, Massachusetts and Michigan, and while he may have invested a little of the money, he spend most of it on himself, the complaint says.
The 25-year-old has admitted to his scheme and told investigators that he knew what he was doing was illegal.
With money from at least 20 investors, Donald R. French Jr. spent his early 20s traveling to Las Vegas on gambling trips, driving fancy cars and living a millionaire lifestyle.
Because he was a millionaire — and with the help of his “gift of gab” he told investigators — he was able to convince others to give him their money with the promise that they’d earn a high rate of return.
With investment money, French racked up a $1.48 million credit card bill, withdrew about $1.28 million, spent about $565,000 on gambling and spent about $62,000 on fancy vehicles and other expenses. Read fully story.
What is Money Laundering?
Money laundering is the practice of engaging in financial transactions to conceal the identity, source or destination of illegally gained money. It is a major crime in many states and countries.
U.S. Federal law is severe:
“Whoever knowingly conducts or attempts to conduct a financial transaction which in fact involves the proceeds of specified unlawful activity with the intent to promote the carrying on of specified unlawful activity shall be sentenced to a fine of not more than $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction, whichever is greater, or imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both.”
Ponzi schemes are a type of fraud involving the payment of dividends to investors from the money put in by subsequent investors. The money is usually not invested at all, but is often used by the person who started the scheme for personal expenditures. Today, the best known Ponzi scheme in recent history was run by Bernie Madoff.
West Palm Beach Fraud Defense Attorney
The FBI aggressively pursues money launderers because of potential ties to terrorism. The full weight of the Federal Government can come crashing down on you. A defendant needs a criminal defense attorney with considerable experience – not just because money laundering is a serious offense but because it can involve many levels of government and countless agencies. Even for a veteran attorney, few cases are more challenging.
There are many defenses – illegal search and seizure, illegal wire transfers, discrediting the prosection’s witness – to name a few. But it is a complicated charge. If you are facing federal wire fraud charges, you need to hire an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney you can depend on.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., in West Palm Beach, we have extensive experience representing people charged with fraud crimes, including mortgage fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, tax evasion, insider trading, theft by fraudulent means, writing bad checks, and organized schemes to defraud.
In Florida, most fraud changes involve the Economic Crimes Division (ECD) putting together a great amount of evidence for presentation before a grand jury. The best way to resolve these cases is for your lawyer to have a good working relationship with the prosecutor and to try to avoid any serious consequences by paying restitution. In Florida, restitution outweighs incarceration, so if your lawyer can persuade the victim to drop charges in favor of receiving their money back, you can usually avoid a conviction.
If you did not commit the fraud crime, we can prepare an aggressive defense and force the state to prove its case. In many cases, that can be a difficult thing for the state to do.
Free consultation 24/7: Call West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyer Andrew D. Stine, P.A. at 561.880.4300. Se habla español.