Aurora Man Convicted of Defrauding Non-Profit of More Than $880,000 Intended to Address Cleveland Food Desert
CLEVELAND – Paul Kimmins Lebo, 41, of Lakewood, Ohio, was sentenced today to 48 months of imprisonment by U.S. District Judge Charles E. Fleming after he earlier pleaded guilty to wire fraud in connection to a Ponzi scheme. Judge Fleming also sentenced Lebo to pay $635,000 in restitution and serve 3 years of supervised release.
According to court documents, from August 2017 through October 2021, Paul Lebo persuaded nearly 100 individuals to invest in his non-operational hedge fund, promising them future equity ownership and options trading strategies with assurances that their investments were protected and any deposits would be fully refundable. He also convinced them to provide short-term loans by giving false explanations about why he needed the loans and false assurances about his ability to repay. Instead, Lebo used the money for personal expenses, bad stock market trades, unsuccessful attempts to acquire real estate, and to repay earlier investors. Throughout the scheme, Lebo provided the victims bogus updates about the status of their investments to get victims to invest more. At times he would use new investor funds or his parents’ money to repay the victims or write “refund” checks from accounts that contained insufficient funds.
In addition to his fraudulent hedge fund scheme, Lebo also defrauded multiple people over the internet by offering items for sale without intending to deliver them. Instead, he used the payments from the “sales” to repay his hedge fund investors or make stock trades that ultimately resulted in the total loss of the funds.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Erica Barnhill.
Thomas P. Weldon