Florida Man Indicted in “Ponzi” Scheme
WASHINGTON – David R. Lewalski, formerly of Gainesville, Fla., was indicted today on conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud charges in connection with his participation in an investment fraud scheme, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Robert E. O’Neill of the Middle District of Florida.
Lewalski, 47, was originally charged by a criminal complaint and arrested on Nov. 4, 2010. If convicted, Lewalski faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the four counts in the indictment.
According to court documents, Lewalski and one or more coconspirators allegedly solicited money from investors in Florida and throughout the country based on false statements that Lewalski could earn them up to 10% interest per month through trading in the foreign currency (forex) market. Based on these and other fraudulent promises, Lewalski and his coconspirators allegedly took in approximately $30 million from hundreds of investors in Florida and across the country.
Court documents allege that Lewalski invested only a small portion of these investor funds in trading activities and generated little if any profits trading foreign currency. Lewalski made “interest payments” totaling approximately $15 million to investors using other investors’ money. According to court documents, Lewalski spent lavishly on himself, his friends and his family, spending millions of dollars leasing real estate and private jets, and purchasing luxury automobiles, clothing and jewelry.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mandy Riedel and Trial Attorney Glenn Chernigoff of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. It is being investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, with assistance from the Florida Office of the Attorney General.
Today’s charge is part of efforts being undertaken by President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
For more information on the task force, visit StopFraud.gov.