FORMER RADIO TALK SHOW HOST PLEADS GUILTY IN CONNECTION WITH MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR PONZI SCHEME
BOSTON, MA - A Quincy man who worked as a host on a radio talk show entitled “Your Money” was convicted today in federal court of wire fraud and securities fraud.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division, announced today that GREGG T. RENNIE, age 44, of Quincy, MA pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Edward F. Harrington to thirteen counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud.
At today’s plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the government’s evidence would have proven that RENNIE operated a Ponzi scheme in which he stole no less than $3.2 million from a number of victims, including an elderly gentleman whom RENNIE had known since his childhood, retirees who invested their retirement savings with RENNIE, and individuals who listened to RENNIE’s radio show. RENNIE’s victims also included a church congregation that had invested funds that the congregation had raised in anticipation of building a new church.
RENNIE’s scheme involved soliciting investment in what he described as risk free federal housing certificates with guaranteed rates of return. RENNIE told his victims that these investments involved government grants or loans for housing projects, or were otherwise investments in federally subsidized real estate developments. As a variant on his housing certificate scheme, RENNIE persuaded other victims to invest funds in annuity products that he claimed offered guaranteed rates of return.
RENNIE, however, did not invest his victims’ money in the products he described. Rather, he used the funds to pay for his own personal and business expenses as well as to make periodic payments to other victims. To conceal his fraud, RENNIE showed some of his victims prospectuses for legitimate investment vehicles from respected investment companies. He further sent his victims bogus invoices which appeared to reflect their investments. These documents, however, bore no relation to the actual manner in which RENNIE spent his victims’ money.
“Financial crimes that prey on trusting investors, as alleged in this case, will not be tolerated. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is dedicated to protecting investors from financial predators and will aggressively pursue those who exploit the trust of the investing public,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz.
Judge Harrington scheduled sentencing for April 12, 2010. RENNIE faces up to20 years imprisonment on each count, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release and a $5 million fine or twice the gains or losses that he caused.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the United States Securities Exchange Commission. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James P. Dowden of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit