Lehigh Valley Attorney Indicted for Orchestrating $2.7 Million Ponzi Scheme that Targeted His Own Clients to Invest in Fake Business Opportunities
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Todd H. Lahr, 60, of Nazareth, PA, was charged by Superseding Indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, two counts of securities fraud, and four counts of wire fraud. The charges were unsealed today in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
The Superseding Indictment alleges that Lahr, an attorney licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, perpetrated a multiyear securities fraud scheme that targeted his own law clients. The scheme involved the fraudulent sale of the securities of two entities, THL Holdings, LLC and Ferran Global Holdings, Inc. Lahr raised funds for the two companies by soliciting investments from his clients, telling them that their money would be used for a variety of business opportunities, most prominently, a mining operation in Papua New Guinea. According to the Superseding Indictment, these opportunities were non-existent; instead, Lahr used the investor funds to finance his own lifestyle, paying 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.
In addition to the criminal charges Lahr is facing, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a parallel civil enforcement action in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania today based on the same course of conduct. The SEC Complaint charges Lahr and another individual, Thomas Megas, with multiple securities fraud violations and seeks disgorgement, prejudgment interest, civil money penalties, and injunctions against future violations of the federal securities laws against both defendants.
“Lawyers are entrusted to uphold the law, not break it,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “And what is particularly disturbing here is that Lahr allegedly targeted the very people he owed a duty of loyalty to – his clients. Instead of serving their interests, he allegedly stole almost $3 million from them so he could indulge himself. I want to thank our law enforcement partners at the FBI and SEC, along with the attorneys in the Fraud Section of the Department of Justice, who worked with my Office to put an end to this fraud and hold the defendant accountable.”
“Todd Lahr's clients thought he was a man of his word,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “Little did they know he would take full advantage of that trust, diverting and using their money as his own. The FBI is fighting every day to shut down financial fraudsters like this, find justice for their victims, and protect the public.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Rinaldi and Trial Attorney Philip B. Trout of the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section. The U.S. Attorney’s Office appreciates the substantial assistance of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in this matter.
An Indictment, Information, or Criminal Complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.