Pennsylvania Attorney Sentenced for Role in $2.7 Million Ponzi Scheme
An Allentown, Pennsylvania, attorney was sentenced today to 78 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in a $2.7 million investment fraud scheme that victimized his law clients.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Driscoll of the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office made the announcement.
Todd H. Lahr, 60, of Nazareth, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Edward G. Smith of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania who also ordered Lahr to pay $2,106,918.60 in restitution and $273,091 in forfeiture.
Lahr, an attorney licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, and with offices in Allentown, pleaded guilty in April 2020 to one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud, and four counts of wire fraud.
According to Lahr’s admissions at the plea hearing and sentencing, from 2012 through 2019, Lahr conspired with others to perpetrate a securities fraud scheme targeting his own law clients, which involved the fraudulent sale of the securities of two entities, THL Holdings LLC and Ferran Global Holdings Inc.
Lahr initially sold THL Holdings investments, promising that the money raised would be used to pursue specific business opportunities, including mining operations in Papua New Guinea and the acquisition of the shares of a penny stock. In reality, the money was used for Lahr’s personal expenses and to make Ponzi scheme payments to prior investors, among other things. Once Lahr realized that he was running out of investor money to pay the THL Holdings investors, he sought investors for a second entity, Ferran. He told the Ferran investors that their money would be used for business opportunities, including even more mining in Papua New Guinea and residential property leases in Spain and England—but, in fact, these funds were used to repay the prior THL Holdings investors and, again, for Lahr’s personal expenses to fund his lifestyle. Among these personal expenses were his home mortgage, his child’s school tuition, utility bills, and other personal debt. Total investor losses are estimated to be over $2.7 million.
Even after he was caught, Lahr continued his deception by lying in sworn testimony before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In this testimony, Lahr denied writing checks to his personal accounts from the THL Holdings accounts, when, in fact, he had written at least 25 separate checks to himself over a three-year period.
The FBI investigated this case. Trial Attorney Philip Trout of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Rinaldi of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.
The department appreciates the substantial assistance provided by the SEC.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.