News and Press Releases

Three Defendants Sentenced To 60 Months Each For Their Roles In Operating A Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme

May 29, 2014

United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown of the Southern District of Alabama announces that defendants Stephen Merry, David Petersen, and Yaman Sencan were sentenced to federal prison for 60 months each for their roles in a massive, multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. Following their sentences, Merry and Sencan face potential deportation to the United Kingdom and Turkey, respectively. In addition, the defendants must pay $2,891,898.95 in restitution to seventeen victim investors, as well as pay $2,000 each in special assessment fees to the court.

Merry, Petersen, and Sencan were convicted of conspiracy, securities fraud, and wire fraud following a week-long jury trial in December 2013. At trial, the evidence established that the three defendants played various roles related to a massive investment fraud scheme. Investors believed their money was being sent to a company called Westover Energy Trading Partners where it would purportedly be traded using a super computer. Investors were provided with weekly statements which indicated that their money was being traded and that it was continually earning a profit. However, the super computer was never fully operational, and the investors’ money was not traded as they believed. Furthermore, beginning in 2011, the defendants stopped sending the money to Westover all together. Rather, they kept the money to enrich themselves and to make Ponzi payments to investors. In total, the defendants obtained $4.6 million dollars from investors. Approximately, $1.6 million of that money was paid back out to other investors in the form of Ponzi payments.

This case was investigated by FBI-Mobile and prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Alabama.

Return to Top

USAO Homepage
USAO Briefing Room
Alabama Immigration Law H.B. 56
Civil Rights Summits

Please check back later
for more information.

Disability Discrimination

If you have any questions concerning disability discrimination, please call 251.441.5845 and ask for the Disability Discrimination Coordinator, or direct your inquiry in writing to:

U.S. Attorney's Office
Attn: Disability Discrimination Coordinator
63 South Royal Street
Suite, 600
Mobile, AL 36602

Re-Entry Initiative

Project H.O.P.E.

Natural Disaster
Fraud Hotline

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at:

(866) 720-5721

You can e-mail it to:

Project Safe Childhood

Help us combat the proliferation of sexual exploitation crimes against children.

Project Safe Neighborhoods

Our nation-wide commitment to reducing gun crime in America.

Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee

Training and seminars for Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Agencies.

Justice 101