Idaho Falls Man Sentenced in $29 Million Loss Ponzi Scheme
POCATELLO – Daren Palmer, 42, formerly of Idaho Falls, was sentenced in federal court today to eight years in prison for his role in a Ponzi investment scheme in which investors lost over $29 million, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge ordered Palmer to pay $29,842,731 in restitution. Following his release from prison, Palmer must serve three years on supervised release and perform 200 hours of community service. Palmer entered a guilty plea to charges of wire fraud and money laundering in May 2011.
The information to which Palmer pled guilty alleged that from 2002 through December 2008, Palmer owned and operated Trigon Group LLC in Idaho Falls, and solicited clients to invest money in the Trigon Group. In the plea agreement, Palmer admitted that in September 2008 he solicited a client to invest $500,000 with Trigon, promising the client a favorable rate of return and a safe investment. Palmer did not tell the client that he would use the invested funds to pay other investors or that Trigon was already in financial trouble. The plea agreement further states that between 2002 and December 2008, Palmer received approximately $75.8 million from sixty-eight investors, who then lost more than $20 million.
In the plea agreement, Palmer also acknowledged that he laundered money by using funds from the Trigon bank account to make a personal purchase of $110,550 from a jewelry store.
“Today's sentence is a fair and just punishment for the irreparable and lasting harm Daren Palmer caused to his investors,” said Olson. “While Mr. Palmer will spend eight years in a federal prison, his defrauded investors will spend the rest of their lives trying to recover financially. I commend the thorough and painstaking investigation by the federal agencies involved and by Pocatello branch chief Jack Haycock.”
“The FBI considers this to be a significant sentence,” said FBI Salt Lake City Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. “We are pleased that Mr. Palmer will pay for his crimes by serving several years in prison and has been ordered to pay millions in restitution. The FBI is grateful to IRS-CI for its efforts in this investigation. I am hopeful that this case sends a strong message to those who engage in this type of criminal activity, that white collar crimes will be aggressively investigated by FBI Special Agents and our law enforcement partners.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration.
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