An Ohio man was sentenced to 131 months in prison in Federal Court in Cincinnati for defrauding dozens of investors in a ponzi scheme. This is another example of the continued focus by federal prosecutors and investigators on white collar crimes.
Jasen Snelling, along with another co-conspirator, ran the scheme from a Queensgate office. Victims in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky suffered losses in excess of $5 million.
The United States Attorney’s Office described this as a “classic Ponzi scheme” in which “early investors were paid interest or return of capital payments, which were not generated by investment earnings, but rather by monies solicited from later investors.” The federal charges arose because the conspirators created fake trading statements. Federal authorities also brought tax evasion charges, on the theory that the conspirators failed to report some embezzled funds as income.
The scheme offered investors the opportunity to benefit from a sophisticated day trading operation. Investors were guaranteed 10 percent to 15 percent return. Payments were made to early investors from money obtained from later investors. These payments helped to prevent discovery of the scheme by providing the initial investors with the belief that the investments were successful. The payments also encouraged the initial investors to tell recruit other victims, including their families and friends.
Instead of investing the money, the investors took a large portion of it for their own benefit. The prosecutor alleged that the money was spent on personal expenditures, including a vacation home, private school tuition, and a boat.
A person who is being investigated for white collar crime should, of course, contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. The earlier a criminal defense lawyer is involved in the process, the higher the likelihood the person can reach a positive resolution to the charges.
Victims of white collar crimes, including Ponzi schemes, also should not hastate to contact an attorney. If a person suspects that an investment opportunity is too good to be true – such as by offering high guaranteed returns for risky investments – it probably is. In many cases, the attorney may be able to work directly with the investigators and prosecutors to help obtain restitution. In addition, by working through an attorney, a victim may be able to avoid some embarrassment and negative publicity – after all, nobody wants to think of themselves as a victim.