Man Arrested in Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme
BOSTON – A former Massachusetts-resident was arrested at the Miami airport on Sunday for allegedly running a Ponzi scheme.
Mark Anderson Jones, 64, who currently resides in Jamaica, was charged with wire fraud after allegedly leading investors to believe that they would be providing financing to Jamaican businesses. Jamaican banks can take time to close loans to businesses and Jones claimed that he was offering these businesses “bridge loans” as an interim measure (i.e., to “bridge” the gap between the date a loan was sought from Jamaican banks and the distribution of funds by those banks).
According to the complaint, between 2007 and 2015, Jones obtained approximately $10 million in investments from over 20 individuals. In reliance on Jones’s representations that their money would be used to fund bridge loans, Jones’s investors, including investors in Massachusetts, provided financing and expected a return on their investments. In reality, however, beginning in at least November 2014, Jones stopped using investor money to fund loans. Instead, he used new investor money to pay back other investors. It is alleged that, in November 2014 and January 2015, Jones obtained $500,000 in new investments, most of which he used to pay other investors bogus investment returns.
The statutory maximum penalty for wire fraud is 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross loss to the victim. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz and Special Agent in Charge Harold Shaw of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Boston Division made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah E. Walters, Chief of Ortiz’s Economic Crimes Unit and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric A. Forni from the SEC.
The details contained in the complaint affidavit are allegations. The defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
This case was brought in coordination with 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.