Investment Advisor Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Investors For Millions Of Dollars
United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger today announced the guilty plea of SEAN MEADOWS, 41, for using his financial planning and asset management firm, Meadows Financial Group (MFG), operated a Ponzi scheme and fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from dozens of victims. The defendant pleaded guilty on December 10, 2014, before Judge Susan Richard Nelson in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn., to Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Money Laundering offenses.
According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, MEADOWS operated MFG, through which he sold insurance and investment products to clients in Minnesota, Indiana, Arizona, and elsewhere. From 2007 until April 2014, MEADOWS successfully solicited a total of at least $10 million from more than 50 clients for a purported investment managed by MFG. The defendant falsely told victims that he would use their funds to purchase bonds, real estate, or other legitimate third-party investments.
MEADOWS lured victims into removing funds from their retirement and other savings accounts by promising high rates of returns – up to 10 percent annually – when, in fact, he did not invest their funds and did not have a legitimate means by which to make interest payments. Instead, MEADOWS used funds from new investors to make interest and/or principal repayments to existing investors.
According to his guilty plea and documents filed in court, MEADOWS used the illicit proceeds of the Ponzi scheme to pay personal expenses, including: making “salary” payments to himself; making payments to his spouse; paying expenses on personal investment properties; paying personal credit card bills; purchasing a vehicle for himself; traveling to Las Vegas; gambling at various casinos and online; and spending more than $100,000 at adult entertainment establishments in Minnesota and Las Vegas.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Benjamin Langner and Melinda Williams.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Minnesota Department of Commerce Fraud Bureau, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service- Criminal Investigation Division.
SEAN MEADOWS, 41
Eden Prairie, Minn.
• Wire Fraud, 7 counts
• Mail Fraud, 3 counts
• Transaction Involving Fraud Proceeds, 1 count