Gainesville Man Sentenced to 20 Years in "Ponzi" Scheme
Tampa, FL- U.S. Attorney Robert E. O'Neill and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of Criminal Division, United States Department of Justice, announce that United States District Judge James D. Whittemore today sentenced David R. Lewalski (48, formerly of Gainesville) to 20 years in federal prison for mail fraud. The court also ordered Lewalski to forfeit $29,851,598.34, numerous computers, and computer equipment, which are traceable to proceeds of the offense.
According to court documents, Lewalski and others, acting at his direction, solicited money from investors in Florida and throughout the country based on false statements that they could earn up to 10% interest per month by trading in the foreign currency (forex) market. Based on these and other fraudulent promises, Lewalski took in approximately $30 million from more than 500 investors. In reality, Lewalski invested only a small portion of these investor funds in trading activities and generated little, if any, profits by trading foreign currency. Lewalski paid out purported "interest payments" totaling approximately $15 million to investors, while using other investors' monies to perpetuate the fraud. Lewalski also spent lavishly on himself, his friends, and his family, spending millions of dollars leasing high end real estate in New York City, private jets, and purchasing luxury automobiles.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation, with assistance from the Florida Office of the Attorney General. It was being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mandy Riedel and Trial Attorney Henry Van Dyck of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.