News and Press Releases

Operator of San Fernando Valley-based Ponzi Scheme Pleads Guilty After Postal Inspectors Retrieve Him From Thailand

October 1, 2012

LOS ANGELES – A man who fled the country in 2011 after the collapse of his $7.6 million Ponzi scheme, but who was returned to the United States in June to face federal charges, pleaded guilty today to mail fraud and now faces up to 20 years in prison.

Daniel Nelson Tynon, 55, pleaded guilty this morning before United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson, who is scheduled to sentence Tynon on December 10.

According to court documents, Tynon operated a Van Nuys-based investment company called Dant Corporation. As part of his scheme, Tynon promised investors annual returns of 18 percent, with the income purportedly coming from investments in county property tax liens. Postal Inspectors who investigated this case found no evidence that Tynon invested in tax liens.

More than 40 victims invested a total of approximately $8 million with Tynon. Many of the victims were members of the Rotary International service organization, where Tynon was a Rotary Club Past District Governor.

“This Ponzi scheme is a classic example of affinity fraud, in which the fraudster preys on victims who are members of an identifiable group, exploiting the trust and friendship of the group’s members,” said B. Bernard Ferguson, Inspector in Charge for the Los Angeles Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. “The victims suffered not only a financial loss, but also – perhaps even greater – the violation of the trust they had placed in a respected leader of their organization.”

After the Ponzi scheme collapsed in early 2012, several investors received information that led them to believe that Tynon had died. Postal Inspectors investigating the matter determined that Tynon was actually alive and living in Thailand. After federal prosecutors filed charges against Tynon, his U.S. passport was revoked based on the outstanding mail fraud arrest warrant. Tynon was apprehended by the Royal Thai Police, Immigration Bureau, and was escorted back to the United States by Postal Inspectors.

During the course of the scheme, which started about 12 years ago, Tynon raised just over $7.6 million, but some victims were partially repaid and the estimated losses in this case are $1.97 million.

The investigation of Tynon was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service.

Release No. 12-132

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