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In recent years, law enforcement has taken steps to more aggressively pursue various forms of corporate crime in Virginia and across the U.S. Included in the list of white collar crimes that have been in the news are those related to Ponzi schemes. Given the potential penalties that a person who is convicted on charges of being involved in a Ponzi scheme can face, it is important to have good legal advice.

A former restaurateur who is accused of running a Ponzi scheme is believed to have bilked investors of greater than $12 million. The man was arrested and charged with wire fraud. He is alleged to have sought money to support a business to sell wholesale liquor and then used that money to pay investors and fund his own lifestyle. The man owned a restaurant, which is now closed, in the Harlem section of New York. This investigation is linked to New York Police Department allegations of high-ranking members receiving gifts in exchange for protection by the police.

The man is 36-years-old and the case stemmed from a joint investigation by several different units including the NYPD and the FBI. The man allegedly sought money from a minimum of 12 investors from July of 2013 to 2014. He had promised that there would be a high return on their investment. A report from the investigation stated that the accused man did not spend more than $700,000 on liquor and the rest was used to pay other investors, wire himself money, withdraw cash, and pay for his own expenses that included clothes, meals and other luxury items.

While the charges in this crime are significant and troubling, the mere fact that the man was arrested does not mean that he is guilty. There are many different financial opportunities that are presented to a large number of people. Some of these can be fraudulent like a Ponzi scheme. Those who are part of an investigation might have gotten into a situation that they could not get out of. They might have made a mistake, or it is possible that a person was unwittingly part of a Ponzi scheme. Regardless of the circumstances, it is imperative that the person fight the allegations from the start with help from an experienced attorney.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Former New York Restaurant Owner Charged With Running $12 Million Ponzi Scheme," Pervaiz Shallwani and Rebecca Davis O'Brien, April 8, 2016

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