Radford Man Pleads Guilty to Operating Ponzi Scheme
Charles G. Shomo Stole More Than $600,000
ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – A Radford, Va., man who bilked investors out of more than $620,000 with promises of high interest returns on investments in his company, pled guilty today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke to federal fraud charges.
Charles G. Shomo, 63, of Radford, Va., pled guilty today to three counts of mail fraud, two counts of securities fraud and one count of money laundering. The defendant entered his guilty pleas today without the benefit of a plea agreement.
“Mr. Shomo stole the life savings of dozens of his customers, many of them elderly,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “While he is required to provide restitution, Mr. Shomo cannot restore the lost sense of trust that he stole from his victims.”
This case is the result of a thorough and cooperative investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Virginia State Corporation Commission, and the Commonwealth’s Attorneys’ Offices for Giles, Smyth, Floyd and Wythe counties, along with the Sheriff’s Offices for Giles, Smyth, Floyd, Wythe, Rockbridge counties, the City of Pulaski and the Pearisburg Police Department.
All total, Shomo obtained approximately $620,000 from over thirty victims, most of who were over the age of 65, residing in the Western district of Virginia.
According to the indictment, in 1999 Shomo founded P&G Enterprises LLC, a business originally established to purchase and set-up retail ATM and credit card processing systems throughout Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina. P&G purportedly developed revenue from fees charged to users who obtained cash from P&G ATMs and from retailers that used P&G’s credit card processing service.
It is alleged that between December 2006 and June 2013 Shomo solicited investors under the representation that investor funds would be used to load ATM units and generally fund the operation of the ATM business. In return, Shomo offered investors promissory notes that typically matured over a one-year time period and paid an annualized interest rate of at least 5.95 percent. Unbeknownst to investors, Shomo was using investor funds for his personal expenses and to help fund an unrelated scooter business.
Additionally, Shomo is accused of using new investors’ funds to pay existing P&G note holders. The indictment claims that between March 2010 and June 2013, Shomo received in excess of $620,000 in proceeds from the sale of P&G promissory notes to investors.
Assistant United States Attorney C. Patrick Hogeboom III and Gauhar R. Naseem, Associate General Counsel-Financial Services, Office of General Counsel for the Virginia State Corporation Commission will prosecute the case for the United States.