Bucks County Man Charged With Running Ponzi Scheme
PHILADELPHIA - Bogdan K. Stepien, 34, of Richboro, PA, was charged today by indictment with running a Ponzi scheme in which he claimed to be a successful “day trader” and recruited friends and family members to “invest” with him. Stepien is charged with 19 counts of wire fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, and four counts of passing counterfeit and forged checks, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.
According to the indictment, between 2011 and 2014, Stepien received funds from each of eight individuals and instead of engaging in high frequency trading with those funds, he used them to pay for his own personal expenses. It is further alleged that to lull his victims into believing that he was successfully investing their funds, Stepien sent them bogus trading account statements and spreadsheets that purported to show their growing investment returns. He allegedly used some of the investor funds to pay what he characterized as distributions or profits to some of his investors when, in fact, the funds were not profits but were merely some of the investors’ principal. In connection with the scheme, Stepien allegedly used the name, address, and forged signature of one of his victims in performing several wire transfers of the victim’s funds to an account in Stepien’s name and for Stepien’s benefit.
The indictment further alleges that on four separate occasions, between August 2014 and April 2015, Stepien passed counterfeit and forged checks in order to purchase luxury automobiles and real estate. Stepien allegedly used two checks, each for over $100,000, to purchase new, custom-ordered Mercedes-Benz automobiles. He allegedly used another check, for more than $70,000, to purchase a new GMC Yukon Denali automobile. He is also charged with purchasing real estate with a bogus $400,000 check. Most of these checks were altered so that they appeared to be official checks, and none of the checks were legitimate.
If convicted, the defendant faces a mandatory minimum prison term of two years for aggravated identity theft with a maximum possible sentence of 20 years for each count of wire fraud, ten years for each count of passing counterfeit and forged checks, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $6.5 million, a $2,600 special assessment, and full restitution.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Nancy E. Potts.
An Indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.