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Press Release

Manitowoc Man Indicted for Orchestrating $3,000,000 Ponzi Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger announced today that a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Wisconsin indicted James A. Nickels (age 67) of Manitowoc, Wisconsin, on eighteen counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, and one count of money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1957.    

According to the indictment, from approximately September 2006 until August 2017, Nickels carried out a scheme to defraud by making materially false representations, omissions, and promises to induce people to invest in a business called The Fiscal Concierge.  As part of the scheme, Nickels failed to inform potential investors that he was using money from new investors to pay interest and principal promised to previous investors, and to pay his personal expenses.  Nickels obtained from investor victims more than $5 million in scheme proceeds, and the investors’ net loss was $3,193,616.

United States Attorney Krueger commented, “Investment schemes can destroy the dreams of victims whose hard-earned savings are stolen.  We commend the excellent work of the IRS and the State of Wisconsin in joining forces to investigate this case.”

“Illegal activity involving the investment industry has brought financial ruin to many Americans. IRS Criminal Investigation is proud to bring our forensic accounting skills to this joint venture and help put a stop to this and other types of white collar crime,” said IRS Criminal Investigation, St. Paul Field Office Acting Special Agent in Charge David Talcott.

Each of the eighteen wire fraud charges carries a maximum possible penalty of up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  The money laundering charge carries a maximum possible penalty of up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. 

IRS Criminal Investigation and the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions investigated the case.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Stephen A. Ingraham and Zachary J. Corey.

The public is cautioned that an indictment is merely a charge and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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For Additional Information Contact:

Public Information Officer Dean Puschnig 414-297-1700

Updated May 23, 2018